New Appcelerator Developer Survey Shows Apple iPad and Android Tablets Dominate Mobile Priorities

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Developers Favor Apple in the Short-Term but Eye Google’s Long-Term Advantages as Cross-Platform Development Becomes Number One Pain Point

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IDC believes that while media tablets represent the next area for major mobile app innovation, increasing levels of OS and device fragmentation work against application developer business models. Meeting these twin mobile application developer needs, leveraging new device types while addressing impacts of fragmentation, are central to the strategy of every major mobile ecosystem

Appcelerator®, the leading platform for rapidly developing native mobile, desktop, and iPad applications using web technologies, announced updated findings of its newest Appcelerator Mobile Developer Survey taken of application developers about their plans to build applications for various mobile and tablet platforms. Taken last week from a pool of Appcelerator’s 51,000+ application developers, 2,733 developers responded that Apple iPad, Android Tablet, and even HP’s potential for webOS tablets are rapidly moving these devices to the top of the mobile priority list. This survey is posted on http://www.appcelerator.com/mobile-developer-survey-June-2010.

While the Apple vs. Google battle has been well documented, developers see the real battle between these two titans as near-term momentum vs. long-term dominance. Appcelerator’s most recent survey shows these leaders staying well ahead of the pack, but a surge in popularity for developing tablet applications on both OSes suggests the battle is moving from phones to “anywhere computing.” And with tier 2 platforms seeing flat to declining interest from developers, it’s clear that Apple and Google are now playing chess while everyone else plays catch up.

Apple Dominating with iPad, iPhone, but Developers Favor Google’s Open OS Long-Term
In this survey, Appcelerator looked in depth at 6 mobile operating systems: Apple (iOS), Google (Android), Palm/HP (webOS), Microsoft (Phone 7), Nokia (Symbian/Meego) and RIM (BlackBerry). The report summarizes the pros and cons facing each of these players.

The leadership that Apple and Google have now in mobile is clearly translating into a long-term tussle for computing beyond the phone. Strong interest in the iPad increased 31 points to 84% while strong interest in developing applications for Android Tablets, appearing for the first time in this survey, came in fourth behind Android phones and ahead of all other Smartphone OS vendors beyond Apple and Google.

When stack ranked, developers overwhelmingly favor Apple against other platforms for its App Store, market for consumer and business apps, devices, and near-term outlook. However, Android comes out tops against others for its OS capabilities, platform openness, and long-term outlook. When asked in more detail, 69% of respondents felt that Android’s potential to “show tremendous adaptability, from tablets to e-readers to set-top boxes” is its greatest strength as a platform. The potential for tablets and other devices from HP based on webOS is also Palm’s greatest perceived strength.

“Developers are rearranging their priorities to unlock the new potential that tablet computing holds,” noted Jeff Haynie, CEO of Appcelerator. “They are experimenting with tablets as point of sale terminals, tablets as TV or other hardware control devices, and tablets as university training tools. We’re seeing lots of interest within categories that have yet to be revolutionized by web-connected devices and in categories where embedded proprietary software used to rule.”

Porting Apps to Multiple Platforms is Biggest Developer Challenge
A second trend now emerging is the increasing problem with OS and device fragmentation. When developers were presented with eight lifecycle stages for development, “porting apps to multiple platforms” stood out as the number one developer pain point. In fact, the number of interested developers dropped up to 60% when asked about their level of interest in each platform’s SDK vs. using a cross-platform solution like Appcelerator Titanium. Moreover, the fragmentation “nightmare” was the biggest stated issue for developing for the Android platform (61%), even above the threat that iOS poses Google’s operating system.

“Appcelerator’s mobile application developer base reflects both how quickly the space is growing, and how rapidly application developers’ needs are evolving,” noted Scott Ellison, IDC’s vice president of Mobile & Wireless. “IDC believes that while media tablets represent the next area for major mobile app innovation, increasing levels of OS and device fragmentation work against application developer business models. Meeting these twin mobile application developer needs, leveraging new device types while addressing impacts of fragmentation, are central to the strategy of every major mobile ecosystem,” he added.

Mobile Becomes New Mandate For Large Organizations
Contrary to popular belief, large organizations (>1,000 employees) are even more interested than individual developers in mobile:

  • 60% of developers in organizations with more than 1,000 employees said they were “very interested” in BlackBerry compared to 33% overall.
  • For Android, 90% of developers in these companies said they were “very interested” in Google’s OS compared to 81% overall.
  • Interest in Apple’s iOS increases to 94% from 90% overall for large organizations.
  • On the other hand, Palm webOS and Meego show more interest in smaller companies than larger ones.

Cross-platform concerns were also much higher in large organizations. Developers in large organizations were 65% more likely than individual developers to cite this as their top development issue. Appcelerator’s own inbound requests are increasingly coming from large companies and brands with a strong mandate to go mobile this year.

Tier 2 Platforms See Few Bright Spots
BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7, Symbian, Palm, and Meego all saw slightly lower enthusiasm for their platforms compared to the survey taken in March. Below is feedback from developers on these platforms:

  • Palm webOS: While developers said closing the gap with iOS and Android is the biggest issue facing Palm, 60% of developers interested in webOS said that HP opening up a broad range of web-connected devices would be the platform’s greatest opportunity.
  • Windows Phone 7: Microsoft’s opportunity is clearly in the business/productivity space, according to 58% of developers interested in the platform, while 67% of those not interested said their weak position in mobile was too much to overcome.
  • BlackBerry: 57% of respondents interested in BlackBerry felt its #1 strength was its market share while 75% not interested believed competition from iPhone/Android was its greatest weakness.
  • Symbian/Meego: For Nokia, a global market opportunity was cited by 75% of developers interested in the platform as being most important, however 52% of developers who weren’t interested in developing for Nokia said that its triple platform strategy (Symbian, Meego, and Maemo) was too muddled and risky right now.

Multi-Tasking is Most Important New Feature in iOS Phone 4
Developers were also asked to stack rank new iOS features that they are most looking forward to. In priority order, these features are:

  • Multi-tasking (73% of respondents are looking forward to this feature)
  • Faster processor (58%)
  • iAD (33%)
  • Retina display (31%)
  • Text messaging within apps (31%)
  • Gyroscope (30%)
  • Enhanced camera (29%)
  • HD video (26%)
  • FaceTime (24%)
  • Gamekit (24%)
  • 802.11n wi-fi (21%)

Many of Appcelerator’s developers build productivity, utility, or business applications, which favor the multi-tasking capabilities that will be offered in iPhone 4 and iPad at some point. iAD is a favorite among smaller Titanium developers while many see the enhanced camera offering new opportunities for barcode or augmented reality-type applications.

About Appcelerator
Appcelerator is the leading platform for rapidly developing native mobile, desktop, tablet, and other multi-screen applications using web technologies. The company’s flagship offering, Appcelerator Titanium, is the only open source platform to enable native cross-platform development, from a single codebase, at web development speed. Appcelerator’s customers can leverage their existing skills and open, industry standard technologies to create and commercialize mobile, desktop, and Web apps from a single platform, decreasing time-to-market and development costs, increasing customer adoption and revenues, and enjoying greater flexibility and control. For more information, please visit http://www.appcelerator.com or http://pitch.pe/71965.

Appcelerator is a registered trademark of Appcelerator, Inc. Appcelerator Titanium is a trademark of Appcelerator, Inc.

Press Contact
Carmen Hughes
Ignite PR
Tel: 650.227.3280 ext. 1
Cell: 650.576.6444

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