Android is the favorite platform of app developers

It's not easy to make it as an app developer. That's the key takeaway from the latest State of the Developer Nation report from Vision Mobile, pulling together data from more than 10,000 mobile developers (including some of you) across 137 countries. With that many developers they were able to get a broad view of what's popular and (more importantly) what's successful in making great apps.

When it comes to mindshare among developers, it's no surprise that Android and iOS lead the pack, with 70% of developers targeting the former and 51% the latter. Windows Phone pulls up a strong third place with 28% (and modern-style Windows 8 apps at 18%). 15% of developers are coding for the mobile web, and 11% for BlackBerry 10.

The strength of iOS isn't surprising, even if its global marketshare of 16% pales next to the explosive growth of Android at 79%. What is surprising is the strength of Windows Phone, commanding the attention of more than a quarter of developers while having a global marketshare in the low single digits.

When it comes to the programming languages of choice, a full 42% of developers use HTML5 in their development — but only a third of those are meant for the web. Java, the primary language for Android, nabbed 38% of developers, cross-platform-friendly language C/C++ 26%, iOS-only Objective-C 24%, and cross-platform-friendly-but-best-on-Windows C# at 23%.

That nearly a quarter of developers are using C# — roughly as many are on Android and iOS combined as are for Windows Phone (where C# holds a 63% share) — which shows that Microsoft's plans to reorganize around platforms and services hold some potential for success in mobile.

The most popular languages for Android app developers:

  • Java: 58%
  • HTML/CSS/JavaScript: 13%
  • Visual App Builder: 10%
  • C/C++: 7%
  • C#: 4%

When it comes to the tools that developers use, that ad networks clock in as the top add-on tool with 30% of developers is no shock. Cloud services are next at 29%, push notifications and cross-platform tools both at 24%, and user analytics and beta testing both at 21%. Confoundingly, 27% of those developing with cross-platform tools have only deployed their apps to a single platform.

When it comes to income, making money off apps is not the easiest of things to do. Half of iOS developers and 64% of Android developers make less than $500 per app per month, and nearly a quarter of all developers make no money whatsoever. And if you were hoping to make it big with an app, know that just 1.6% of developers reported earnings of over $500,000 a month, and most of those were likely developers associated with large development houses (especially those that produce games with loads of in-app purchases).

That only a third of iOS developers make less than $100/app/month compared to half of Android developers and even larger shares on Windows Phone and BlackBerry helps to explain that outsized influence that iOS app development has on the wider global development community. There's potential in the smaller platforms, but developers are at large targeting the more lucrative market versus the larger market.

When it comes to enterprise apps, that's where the real money is. Two-thirds of developers are targeting consumers, but the 16% that target enterprise users directly are twice as likely to be earning over $5000 per app per month, and three times as likely to be over $25,000/app/month. Of course, those apps also typically require substantial investment to build, so there's a trade-off.

Sure, that's a big chunk of data, but it's just a nugget of the numbers from the Developer Economics report. If you're a developer, or considering being a developer, it's definitely something you should check out. Let us know what you think!

Source: Developer Economics


Reader comments

Android is the favorite platform of app developers


Too bad some devs dont seem to put as much time into design as their iOS counterparts. Starting with sometimes very horrible looking icons.

Unfortunately, that has something to do with how easy it is to actually make the UI look better in iOS. UI design is far easier in iOS than it is in Android! :-(

I guess. But then we have some devs doing great stuff like Airbnb, Spotify, Pocket, and of course Google's own apps which are awesome. So it's not impossible.

Posted via Android Central App running on a XT1053

To be fair, it's how easy it is to make an app look like the rest of iOS, which many people consider hideous. It's not the same thing.

Then why are apps still going to iOS first then?
Even many of Google's own updates still reach iOS before Android. Plus Android apps are still generally lacking in quality. How is Android the favorite?
Posted via Android Central App

"Google has decided on a number of changes. Implementation is underway and will be completed by the end of September 2014. These include not using the word "free" at all when games contain in-app purchases, developing targeted guidelines for its app developers to prevent direct exhortation to children as defined under EU law and time-framed measures to help monitor apparent breaches of EU consumer laws. It has also adapted its default settings, so that payments are authorised prior to every in-app purchase, unless the consumer actively chooses to modify these settings.

Although, regrettably, no concrete and immediate solutions have been made by Apple to date to address the concerns linked in particular to payment authorisation, Apple has proposed to address those concerns. However, no firm commitment and no timing have been provided for the implementation of such possible future changes."

It's not a news paper article, it's an EU commission assessment, and if you'd kept reading the thread for half a minute longer you'd have gotten your answer.......

Oh, I read it. And still I ask how did you reach that conclusion?
"Apple has proposed to address those concerns, however, no firm commitment and no timing have been provided for the implementation of such possible future changes." So Apple has not made an official statement yet, so?

No commitment has been made, despite the EU commission nagging about this for years. And yes, this is something that's been discussed for years. I can't remember exactly when the first time I read about parents complaining about their bank accounts being emptied by their kids without them knowing, but it's a long, long time ago. Still, Apple won't commit to change how in-app purchases and "free" labels are used.

So the EU commission has been nagging for years and just a couple of days ago has Google and Apple decided to pay attention. With the difference that one company said "OK" and when and the other just said "OK". I don't see scruples lacking anywhere.

Besides the fact that both stores have very visible notices and warnings for apps with in-apps and both stores have easily configured restrictions for these.

Trying as hard as you can pretending you can't read and simply take sentences out of context?

lol, you are really going to defend Apple's decision to ignore this as long as possible. Until they'll be forced to twist Apple's arm with a law? Just because Apple wants to use big app sales revenue numbers as an iOS "pro"? Really?

I can't take sentences out of context? Since when is taking something "out of context" a good thing? Like your understanding of Apple "ignoring" the EU commission because reading "Apple has proposed to address those concerns, however, no firm commitment and no timing have been provided for the implementation of such possible future changes." and understanding "Apple will come back later with a date" is too hard? It's not like Google is taking inmediate action on the subject. We'll be seeing those changes starting this fall.

And I doubt toddlers accidentally tapping buttons account for "big app sales revenue numbers". Considering an in-app purchase has a 90 day return period it would seem more of a hassle for Apple's employees then actually an oportunity for shady revenue income. I love backing claims with verifiable sources but sadly any search on Apple and in-app purchases returns tons of sites talking about the same thing because, you know, how can they let Apple click bait go by?

Oh I understand. I also understand that taking things out of context is exactly how we blow things out of proportion, to the point of actually thinking accidental in-app purchasing is a significant source of revenue for any of both companies and ignoring that both companies, at this moment, stand equally on the matter with the difference that one made a promise with a vague time of delivery and the other as not.

And still, restricting in-app purchases is so easy on both Android and iOS that one has to wonder: how stupid must you be to consider accidental purchases a problem? Specially when getting a refund is even easier?

If refunds are so easy, why do so many parents have to drag Apple to the media or the courts? Calling your buyers stupid because you're tricking them.... Yup, sounds like Apple to me.

Because suing is the United States favorite pastime?
Because parents prefer blaming big companies or video games instead of taking responsability for their own actions?
Because the media jumps at anything Apple related like a horny chimpanzee because they desperately need clicks?
Because a quick Google search for "Apple refund" is too hard but getting a lawyer not?

Apple nor Google hide their refund methods. Both are easily accesible, well documented and just a web search away, if whatever reason you decided not to read the manual. You're trying too hard to see trickery where there is not.

Edwin, what you fail to understand is that if the EU doesn't pass a law to force Apple to do things like remove the word free from apps that have in-app purchases (despite already listing that they have purchases and even what those purchases are before you download the app), then Hans will not be able to help himself and will have spend half of his monthly earnings on f2p in-app purchases. Hans, like many (even in this country), need a law passed and their hand held for every step of every decision. They don't want to have to read the app description page, they don't want to have to be held accountable for any action. I'm surprised they don't sue phone manufacturers when they drop a phone in water and it dies, because it didn't say to not drop it into water.

Nathan. What you don't understand is, generally it's illegal to pretend something that you pay money for is labelled as free. That is why the EU are working on this. Google agrees that it's greedy to do this, Apple just thinks about the revenue....

OHHHHHH you should have said it before, I thought you were trolling (and badly at it). You work hand to hand with Tim Cook and the rest of the board. You're all good buddies and hang out after work for drinks. You even have meetings with Larry Page and his gang. No wonder you know what Companies "think".

Now...back to reality. We return again to one of your first comments: "No commitment has been made, despite the EU commission nagging about this for years. And yes, this is something that's been discussed for years.". So you admit that Google and Apple beared the EU nagging for years. Now Google commited to do something within an undefined period of time and Apple hasn't yet but will in maybe a couple of days. End of story.
What would you be nagging about if Apple made an official statement, let's say, tomorrow?
Do you really think putting apps with in-app purchases in a separate category will actually stop accidental purchases? Will toddlers that don't know how to read will suddenly realize not to tap a nice, big button that reads "buy"?

Did I confuse you with only three questions? Are they too hard to answer?

Anyway, personal offenses aside, I really doubt grouping free apps with in-app purchases in a separate category will stop accidental purchases.

Resorting to personal offenses for the third time, with no more argument than "Apple thinks only in money", and no desire to debate on questions raised against your single argument. I believe you have ran out of ideas.

Good luck next time.

You're the one coming with non-arguments in a weak attempt to defend the lack of commitment from Apple to prevent kids from emptying their parents bank accounts with "free" games created with that single purpose in mind. Come with one single good argument yourself if you want to have a discussion.

Though, we both know you won't, as you're only here to troll.

@Nathan Bael People love suing and blaming others for their lack of responsability. If I have a toddler and I'm going to let him play with my tablet then I take precautions. If I don't know how then a simple Google search will tell me how. Simple as that.

Separating truly free apps from the ones with in-app is nice and all but I doubt it'll do much stoping accidental purchases.

These numbers are probably skewed a bit. One would think that a good number of these developers are working on ports of apps they already released on iOS.

Maybe it's their favorite but they don't necessarily use it the most? Everyone knows you make more money on iOS and it is easier due to less fragmentation so it would be surprising if developers were actually developing at these percentages.

I have seen a lot of apps in the play store get horrible votes because it didn't work with one model of phone or another. I can understand being upset if the latest flagship won't run an app, but I don't understand downvoting because your free-with-contract phone won't run the latest and greatest. That to me is a serious issue developers have to face. Another issue is like you said, people with iPhones tend to be more inclined to pay for apps. I think it has to do with there not being budget phones, but there are probably a lot of other factors involved.

Yes I was going to comment this while the ios store has the best apps visually and game play yet we lack those apps in the Android store. . . Bummer :( it'll be awesome for me to play infinity blade on my note 3 lol

Posted from my note 3 :3

Yeah, just as with the M7/M8 'love' doesn't translate to actual sales, I guess this is a similar case. Until I start seeing less 'ported from iOS' or 'the hit iOS game finally arrives to Android', I don't think this looks like it.

Let's hope all these developers are just as eager to update their apps to Material Design when "L" is released

Typed on tiny keys just for you

This headline is grossly misleading. Where does it say in this report that devs "favor" Android over iOS? The sheer fact that there are more Android developers doesn't mean that "Developers" (as if they are some monolithic bloc like that) prefer one platform over the other. It simply means there are more people programming for Android. Many of them may HATE the Android platform but feel like the user numbers are too high to ignore.

BTW I'm an Android user, I just think this article is totally misreading the data.

Because the average Android user wants everything for free. And developers can't make money with free apps unless they're already huge like Rovio or Gameloft.