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Study: Despite Android's Increasing Penetration, Developers Still Favor iOS

Study: Despite Android's Increasing Penetration, Developers Still Favor iOS

December 13, 2011 | By Eric Caoili, Frank Cifaldi

Despite an increasing market share for Android-based devices over the past year, game and application developers are still favoring Apple's iOS platform by a significant margin.

According to recently-published research by Flurry Analytics, new iOS smartphone projects started during the latter quarter of 2011 still outnumber those started on Android nearly three-to-one.

That ratio has actually declined throughout the year, despite Android's market share increasing: during Q1, there were around 37 Android projects started for every 63 on iOS. The ratio is now around 27 to 73.

Flurry speculates that the discrepancy is due to increased iOS support from developers after the successful launches of the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S this year, as well as the iPhone expanding its carrier support beyond AT&T.

Another significant factor is revenue: Flurry's figures show that multiplatform developers are making an average of only $0.24 from Android releases for every $1 spent on their iOS counterparts.

The firm looked at in-app purchase data for apps with several million daily active users before coming to that conclusion, and cited issues like OS fragmentation, low Google Wallet penetration, and lack of Android Market curation to explain the gap.

These figures come a week after Google announced that it reached 10 billion app downloads (2.56 billion were games), and is seeing around 1 billion downloads each month, across Android devices since Android Market launched in October 2008.

Apple also reports receiving 1 billion App Store downloads each month, and has served over 18 billion app and game downloads on iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches since launching its service in July 2008.

Google's executive chairman recently claimed "Android is ahead of the iPhone now" based on the high volume of Android device shipments, and predicted that developers will want to create apps and games for platforms with large userbases.

Flurry counters, "Despite installed base numbers and daily activations, the almighty dollar still drives business decision making among application developers. And with the critical holiday season upon us, developers are betting on iOS for Christmas 2011."

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