Android proponents frequently argue that the open-source ecosystem with tons of devices has far more potential than Apple's two device walled-garden. Think of the possibilities! Well, a new study indicates that all that potential is scaring many would-be developers away because they don't know which version of Android to write for.
The Register reports that interest in creating apps for Android tablets and smartphones is declining. The application development platform Appcelerator conducts quarterly surveys of its users asking them who is "very interested" in each operating system. While the total percentage of developers interested in Android continues to rise slightly, it's basically stagnating compared to the skyrocketing interest in iOS. Nearly 90% of developers favor iOS while less than 80% are interested in Android smartphones and only 64% are interested in Android tablets. According to the study:
We observed relatively minor shifts in developer interest around iOS, Android, Microsoft, and others from last year's fourth quarter survey. However, when we look at the trend line over the past year some interesting patterns emerge. In Q1 2011 Android was nearly neck-and-neck with iOS in terms of developer interest. Among developers, Android in both tablet form and smartphone, held almost as much interest as iPads and iPhones. In the past year, developer Begun to wane, not significantly from quarter to quarter, but noticeably enough to create the above trend line over the course of the year. We believe this is mostly due to the fragmentation Android continues to experience and that Google seems unable to curtail, and the continued success of Apple's iPhone and iPad. This fragmentation, coupled with iPads continuing to outsell all Android tablets combined, has swayed developers increasingly towards iOS and away from Android.
The problem is the number of concurrent iterations of Android, which remain current amongst the multitude of Android devices out there. Developers can count on most iOS users to update to the latest version of the operating system, while Android users are on everything from Froyo to Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich.
This is far from a death-blow to Android. The number of users continues to increase, but it is interesting to see some of the adverse consequences come to light. Also interesting? Eight percent of developers are interested in creating apps for WebOS—just slightly fewer than those interested in the Blackberry Playbook. [Appcelerator via The Register]