If there’s a more modern day Mac vs. PC debate that brings out the most passionate fanboys on each side it’s easily iOS vs. Android. While the locked down iOS ships strictly on Apple hardware, the open source Android is available to any and all hardware partners. So what makes all of these devices what they are today? Apps and their developers.
AppStoreHQ dug through the app records of thousands of Android and iOS applications and found iOS to have 43,185 developers while Android trails with 10,199. Almost 1,500 of these developers develop for both platforms, a trend they see on the rise. But developers with limited resources struggle to allocate their efforts, having to choose between one platform or another. Many could be finding Apple as the safer bet for a number of reasons.
While Android apps can naturally scale to variable display sizes, developers still have to test their applications across the many different hardware variations the operating sysstem brings with it. Many Android devices vary in screen size, processing power, and graphics capabilities; How an app performs on the more recent Droid X or EVO 4G varies with the Garminfone, Droid Eris, or Motorola Droid.
The variety in software versions makes it difficult for developers to try to continue supporting devices running on old software. Devices are still shipping with Cupcake, Donut or Eclair. Furthermore, as the UI’s are skinned it takes much longer for those devices to receive software updates (if ever) that take advantage of new features or the optimization of current ones.
Even more, a comparison by Distimo of the average app price for each platform show a higher mean payout on iOS. One possible explanation: the Android Marketplace is only able to sell paid applications in 13 countries while Apple’s App Store operates in over 40.
As Google continues to refine the Android experience and hopefully reign in the Marketplace, expect Android’s numbers to grow. Until then, most developers seem to be operating under iOS’s terms.