Android has replaced Apple’s iOS in terms of importance to developers in the Asia-Pacific region in the last 12 months, according to Ovum.
However, it is clear that iOS and Android form the core of developer support and that although these two platforms may vie for ultimate supremacy almost all developers support both platforms.
Its second annual developer survey, Developer Insights 2011: Trends in Mobile Application Development, mirrors closely changes in the wider smartphone market. Developers have been quick to respond to the exit of once-important smartphone platforms such as Windows Mobile, Symbian and WebOS and have embraced opportunities that have arisen through emerging platforms.
“The growing momentum behind Windows Phone indicates that Microsoft has managed to convince developers that its platform is worthy of investment. However, its main challenge now is to persuade consumers,” said Adam Leach, devices & platforms practice leader at Ovum and author of the research.
The technology analysts reveal that while iOS and Android form the core of developer support, there is significant drive behind Blackberry OS and an increasing interest from developers in Microsoft’s Windows phone.
The research also shows a move away from traditional cross-platform mobile application development approaches (e.g. Java, Flash, WAP). Instead, developers are focussing their efforts towards web-based standards (e.g. HTML5), which seem to be the preferred approach to building cross-platform applications.
Yet, despite the increasing use of cross-platform programming approaches, most developers are still using vendor-specific distribution channels such as Android Market to deploy applications, as this is seen as the best way to reach the largest possible audience for their applications.
Leach said: “A smartphone platform’s success is dictated not only by the pull of consumers and the push of both handset vendors and mobile operators but also a healthy economy of applications delivered by third-party developers. Therefore, it is important for all players in the smartphone ecosystem to understand the choices developers are making today and the downstream impact of those choices.”