Only 26% of developers build separate apps for tablets and smartphones

by Patrick Pierra

February 5 2014

Three-quarters of developers prefer universal apps.

Across all platforms, a vast majority of developers build apps which can work - or should work - both on smartphone and tablets. This is a takeaway of an app industry snapshot issued today by ad network Millennial Media. In a survey, 76% of 351 developers said they build universal apps.

This does not mean, though, that all these universal apps look alike on all devices, as some universal apps can show a different interface on a phone and on a tablet screen.

Still, this suggests that, for most developers, the smartphone is still the king of devices and tablets are not worth developing a separate app, better optimized for large screens.

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Other takeaways of this survey, which blends phone and tablet apps:

  • More than 50% of app development companies have a size of… one. Less than 20% work in organizations with 10 employees or more.
  • A large majority of app developers have already published several apps, and 60% expect to have 5 apps or more out there by the end of 2014.
  • Android is by far the most popular platform: 80% of developers publish Android apps. In second position, iOS will partially catch-up with Android in 2014, though. But 78% of iOS developers say they will also develop for Android in 2014.
  • The fastest growing platform is Windows. Almost 50% of developers plan to have Windows apps (either Windows Phone or Windows 8) in 2014.
  • 17% of developers are not monetizing their apps, but almost half of them hope to start making money on them in 2014. Of the 83% who already monetize their apps, 73% do that through advertising, 45% via paid app downloads and about 30% through in-app purchases and virtual goods - a surprisingly low number as in-app purchases have recently been touted as the dominant revenue model going forward.
  • Developing new apps is the top priority of developers, at 56%. Driving revenue comes second, at 16%, and Improving discovery/downloads third, at 15%.

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