Android Increases Its Dominance
Written by Janet Swift   
Thursday, 04 August 2016

The finding that Android now has 79% mindshare among mobile developers comes from the latest State of the Developer Nation report. At the same time the mobile developer population is shifting in geographical terms.




Back in the spring we encouraged our readers to Be Counted In the Next VisionMobile Survey. In total more than 16,500 developers from 145 countries responded to this 11th edition of the Developer Economics survey which was conducted online in nine languages (Portuguese, Spanish, French, Turkish, Russian, Korean, Japanese, Chinese (Simplified), Vietnamese). The survey asked about six distinct areas of development, mobile; desktop; IoT; cloud; machine learning and AR/VR - of which the final two categories were new inclusions for this survey. Also for the fist time respondents were invited to answer questions about multiple developer areas and almost a third (32%) did so, bringing the number of opinions up to that of 30,000 developers.

Commenting on this the report states:

This captures significantly more data ... However, it also creates a selection bias that favours professional developers in each area, as developers tend to select areas in which they are involved professionally. We applied a correction for this on top of the other weighting of responses to make the distribution of professionals and hobby/side project developers representative of the overall involvement in each development area.


As far as mobile development is concerned there has been a significant move towards the Android platform with 80% of those building apps professionally targeting Android and 47% of them now considering Android their primary platform, up 7 percentage points in the last 6 months. This has to be balanced by a decrease somewhere and most of it comes from iOS where only 31% of professional devs now consider it their primary platform, down 8 percentage points.

Among hobbyists and those exploring mobile development on the side, 52% consider Android the prime target.



(click in chart to expand)

Vision Mobile's headline to this chart, which is based on responses from 8,221 survey respondents is:

Mobile Development is shifting East and to Android

An alternative geographical interpretation is that the shift is towards developing economies.

Comparing Android to iOS among professional developers North America is the only region where iOS prevails, and there only by a percentage point while its level pegging in Western Europe. 

Commenting on the relative decline of interest in the iOS platform the report makes these points:

Part of Apple’s dominance of the high-end market has been their status as the platform for early adopters. iOS has been the platform that has all the new and cool apps first and usually has the best versions of those apps. If that advantage shifts to Android then it could start to hit device sales, which in turn would eventually lead to a downward spiral in developer interest.

Apple has two key problems: the first is that the high-end of the
market is growing slower than the total market, so their market share is gradually shrinking; the second is that there’s a shortage of talent familiar with Apple’s platforms to fill professional roles. There are less than half as many hobbyists targeting iOS as Android and less than a third as many who prioritise iOS.

The third group on the map is Mobile Browser, web-based apps, which are particularly important in e-commerce. It has a 30% mindshare overall, even though only 11% of professional devs prioritize it. 

Although Mobile Browser is in third place with regard to primary platform, the report states that in term of mindshare Windows 8/10 is in third place with 34% of developers targeting it, explaining that this is due to developers of desktop apps for Windows being incentivised to create mobile UIs as well.

The percentage of professional developers working primarily for Windows phone has dropped to 4% but this platform still has 27% mindshare, and it is the one area where the hobbyists and explorers is higher are more numerous everywhere apart from North America. The report comments:

This loyalty from developers may seem surprising in the
face of plummeting market share as Microsoft scales back their
smartphone efforts.

We saw similar temporary loyalty from BlackBerry developers in the past, as their customers disappeared too. In this case we won’t get to see the true drop in Windows Phone developers when it comes as they’ll be largely absorbed into the Windows 10 developer pool.


Look out for future articles on I Programmer about what this survey tells us and go and download a full copy of the report.


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Last Updated ( Friday, 05 August 2016 )