Less than a year back iOS had all the developer attention. Today, iOS faces stiff competition from Android. The app marketplace growth trend now reflects a level playing ground for iOS and Android. In this context, do developers face the dilemma of ‘iOS or Android’? They still do. But the question is more a ‘what choice should I make?’ than the question of should I consider Android at all, which was the dilemma some years back.
Even with our own enterprise and consumer clients, we see a marked difference in their approach when it comes to the iOS-Android issue. Inspite of Android’s device and OS fragmentation issues, clients are, if need be, willing to work on overcoming those challenges. So today, Android is clearly viewed as an opportunity than a cost overhead.
The growth of Android
What caused this shift in thinking? The sheer number of Android phones in the market today. The rate of growth of Android phones in the market has been consistently above Apple’s iOS in the last 2 years. So, Android is a growing channel that businesses can’t afford to ignore.
Growth of Android phones in the market – Courtesy: Morgan Stanley report
Japan, south Korea, Russia and China continue to contribute enormously to the Android success than the United States. Depending on the app domain and the target market, app developers can prioritize device choice. If it is an app aimed mainly at the United States, it makes business sense to prioritize iOS app development and later port it to Android for a reasonable cost. If the primary demography is Asia, it would be wise to prioritize Android app development (considering the growth in the number of phones)
Paid Vs Free apps in iOS and Android
For solo app developers, an incentive of development is the potential for an income in the app market. Till a year back, iOS had all the paid apps while Android had everything free. This made developers tend towards iOS. Today there is a shift. While the number of paid apps in the Google Play store in increasing, the number in the Apple store is coming down – indicating a overall balance that can be expected to be reached very soon.
Considering that the gap in the market is fast closing between Android and iOS, the question is no more ‘ iOS or Android’. It is about which one first.
Or even better, simultaneous development of both to achieve maximum benefit.