Appcelerator — a platform for rapidly developing native mobile, desktop, and iPad applications using web technologies — has announced updated findings of its newest Appcelerator Mobile Developer Survey taken of application developers about their plans to build applications for various mobile and tablet platforms.
Taken last week from a pool of Appcelerator’s 51,000+ application developers, 2,733 developers responded that Apple iPad, Android Tablet, and even HP’s potential for webOS tablets are rapidly moving these devices to the top of the mobile priority list. This survey is posted on www.appcelerator.com/mobile-developer-survey-June-2010 .
While the Apple vs. Google battle has been well documented, developers see the real battle between these two titans as near-term momentum vs. long-term dominance. Appcelerator’s most recent survey shows these leaders staying well ahead of the pack, but a surge in popularity for developing tablet applications on both OSes suggests the battle is moving from phones to “anywhere computing,” according to the folks at Appcelerator. And with tier 2 platforms seeing flat to declining interest from developers, it’s clear that Apple and Google are now playing chess while everyone else plays catch up.
The leadership that Apple and Google have now in mobile is clearly translating into a long-term tussle for computing beyond the phone. Strong interest in the iPad increased 31 points to 84% while strong interest in developing applications for Android tablets, appearing for the first time in this survey, came in fourth behind Android phones and ahead of all other smartphone OS vendors beyond Apple and Google.
When stack ranked, developers overwhelmingly favor Apple against other platforms for its Apple App Store, market for consumer and business apps, devices, and near-term outlook. However, Android comes out tops against others for its OS capabilities, platform openness, and long-term outlook. When asked in more detail, 69% of respondents felt that Android’s potential to “show tremendous adaptability, from tablets to e-readers to set-top boxes” is its greatest strength as a platform. The potential for tablets and other devices from HP based on webOS is also Palm’s greatest perceived strength.
“Developers are rearranging their priorities to unlock the new potential that tablet computing holds,” says Jeff Haynie, CEO of Appcelerator. “They are experimenting with tablets as point of sale terminals, tablets as TV or other hardware control devices, and tablets as university training tools. We’re seeing lots of interest within categories that have yet to be revolutionized by web-connected devices and in categories where embedded proprietary software used to rule.”
A second trend now emerging is the increasing problem with OS and device fragmentation. When developers were presented with eight lifecycle stages for development, “porting apps to multiple platforms” stood out as the number one developer pain point. In fact, the number of interested developers dropped up to 60% when asked about their level of interest in each platform’s SDK vs. using a cross-platform solution like Appcelerator Titanium. Moreover, the fragmentation “nightmare” was the biggest stated issue for developing for the Android platform (61%), even above the threat that iOS poses Google’s operating system.
Haynie says that, contrary to popular belief, large organizations (>1,000 employees) are even more interested than individual developers in mobille. Appcelerator has found that:
° Sixty percent of developers in organizations with more than 1,000 employees said they were “very interested” in BlackBerry compared to 33% overall;
° Interest in Apple’s iOS increases to 94% from 90% overall for large organizations;
° For Android, 90% of developers in these companies said they were “very interested” in Google’s OS compared to 81% overall;
° Palm webOS and Meego show more interest in smaller companies than larger ones.