We have covered the battle for market share between Android and iOS on this site before, and until this year, it has mostly been good news for Apple. We have seen the information when using sales as a metric, but the story is getting better for Android when it comes to app developer interest.
Whenever a new mobile operating system comes out for either company, there is a spike in interest from developers. Traditionally, Apple has garnered more interest from developers compared to Android releases. Android’s release of Jelly Bean, though, indicates that the entire market dynamic has changed.
According to research from data and advertising network Chitika’s latest “Insights” study, entitled “iOS 6 vs. Android Jelly Bean: Initial Developer Interest Nearly Identical,” Android’s Jelly Bean and Apple’s iOS 6 received approximately the same amount of attention from developers during the first 24 hours of their release.
The study draws some interesting conclusions. The researchers at Chitika believe that Android is catching up to iOS. According to Chitika’s real-time tracker of operating system breakdown on smartphones, iOS currently has a worldwide market share of 48.68%, while Android is right behind at 48.27% (as of October 24th).
According to Gabriel Donnini, a Chitika data analyst, more developers are turning to Android because it is often more difficult for a first-timer to get into the App Store: “Apple is… notorious… because they post higher barriers to entry.” Apple charges 30% off the top for apps sold in the App Store, and their requirements are still more stringent, even with the current Google Play updates.
This is a healthy situation for both Android and iOS app developers. The market always works better when there are at least two very strong presences. Apple really hasn’t had to take Android seriously as a viable rival until now. If Android continues to threaten them, or actually overtakes them, as some are now predicting, Apple certainly won’t take it lying down.
We can’t pretend to know exactly what is going to happen if the battle between Android and iOS escalates into a war, but we can make educated guesses. The most important effect of enhanced competition between Android and iOS is that both will increase spending for promotions, thus increasing the market for apps.
The end result is that, if you ever wanted to be an Android or iOS app developer, now is the time.