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iPad’s tablet dominance gives Apple huge edge over Android in attracting mobile devs: Flurry

by David Needle

June 8 2012

Flurry says developers essentially get a two-for-one creating apps that can run on both the iPhone & iPad. (Chart: Flurry)
Flurry says developers essentially get a two-for-one creating apps that can run on both the iPhone & iPad. (Chart: Flurry)

Flurry, the mobile apps analytics and ad platform, has released a detailed report on where mobile app developers are placing their bets.

The news comes at a key time for both Apple and Google which will be courting developers at their respective conferences this month. Apple’s WWDC event starts Monday while Google’s I/O conference starts June 27, both in San Francisco and both long sold out.

Flurry said in a blog post that for every 10 apps that developers build, roughly 7 are for iOS. Google made a small gain in Q1 2012, edging up to over 30% for the first time in a year. Flurry says it tracks more than 1.2 billion anonymous, aggregated end user sessions across more than 100 million unique devices. 

“Among the reasons iOS appears more attractive to developers is the dominance by Apple in the tablet category,” Flurry’s Peter Farago said in the post. “Not only does Apple offer a large, homogenous smartphone base for which to build software, but also when developers build for smartphones, their apps run on Apple’s iPad tablets as well.  

“That's like getting two platforms for the price of one,” he added. “Apple offers the most compelling ‘build once, run anywhere’ value proposition in the market today, delivering maximum consumer reach to developers reach for minimal cost.” 

On the flip side, Google’s Android pitch has been hurt by the ongoing “fragmentation” issue of too many versions of the software across a plethora of devices. As Flurry notes, and Google’s own stats have shown, the most widely deployed version of Android is the so-called Gingerbread release. The newer Honeycomb, more optimized for tablets, and Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), the newest Android OS, have a combined 11% share of the overall Android market. And Froyo, which shipped before Honeycomb and ICS has a higher share than the two newest versions. 

“This means that the majority of consumers are running on an Android operating system that is three to four iterations old,” said Farago.

With only a few models of both the iPhone and iPad to manage and in control of its own OS, Apple has a much easier time keeping its users on the latest version offering developers a much clearer platform to target. 

Show me the money

Flurry also did a comparison of revenue generated by top apps on both iOS and Android to calculate the difference in revenue generated per active user. The results show revenue per user is still 4 times greater on iOS than Android. “For every $1.00 a developer earns on iOS, he can expect to earn about $0.24 on Android,” said Farago. 

The results mirror earlier findings from similar analysis Flurry conducted in Q4 of 2011 and Q1 of 2012. 

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