Although Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android phones are still selling like hotcakes, developers are starting to lose interest in coding for the platform. A recent survey by IDC and Appcelerator shows that the growing fragmentation of Google’s open-source Android operating system is leaving developers disenchanted, reports The Register.
As of the end of last month, Google announced that 850,000 Android devices were being activated each day, up from 700,000 per day in December. Even so, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and iPad App Stores generate much more revenue than Android Market, according to a report on the most popular apps of 2011 by analytics firm Distimo.
The quarterly study surveyed 2,173 of the 280,000 developers in January using Appcelerator’s mobile development platform to find out their platform preferences and development priorities. A second survey in February followed up with 484 of the original respondents.
Appcelerator mobile strategist Mike King said the Android downturn is a new development. According to King, about a year ago, the number of developers — including independent, contract, small business and enterprise developers – who reported being “very interested” in developing Android apps for smartphones was a mere 3 percentage points behind iOS for iPhone and 2 points behind iOS for iPad. Interest in Android tablets was around 75 percent, while iPad interest was at 88 percent. However, now around 78 percent of developers are interested in Android smartphones and around 67 percent are interested in Android tablets.
King blames the decline in “the fragmentation that Android’s experiencing, both at the platform and OS level, but also at the monetization-model level,” the report said. According to King, the number and variety of Android app stores make it hard for developers to profit from their work, while the singularity of the Apple App Store makes it easier. Also, King noted that most iOS users are on the latest version of the operating system, where there is a “very set number of devices and device classes,” while with Android, there is a overwhelming amount of fragmentation.
“That fragmentation is really starting to ding Android,” King said, “and our developers have been, for the past year or so, very much a leading market indicator as to what happens to the different platforms.”
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