A latest research report-The Developer Economics 2011- by VisionMobile, conducted between January and April 2011, among the 900+ developers, reveals key insights and analysis on mobile app development.
Some of the key takeaways from the report are-
iOS and Android continue to maintain their dominance with 67% of developers presently using Android and 59% using iOS. Windows is not yet emerged as a commercially viable platform whereas Symbian and Java ME are the platforms with the highest developer abandonment rates.
Large market penetration is the key reason in platform selection followed by the ability to make money, low cost development tools and the ability to quickly code and prototype.
Not every developer is making money. About a third of mobile app developers make less than $1,000 USD per app. Moreover 50% of the developers make money through a salary or commission highlighting the importance of corporate monetization.
Pay-per-download is the top revenue model for developers who aim to make money directly from apps followed by advertising and freemium model where users download an app free and then pay to upgrade.
In terms of platform revenue potential, there are huge discrepancies across platforms. iOS topped the chart, followed by Java ME and BlackBerry. Android and mobile web were the weakest performing platforms in terms of revenue potential.
For 45% of app developers, app stores are the major go-to-market channel with once dominating operator portals losing significance. The ability to reach users is the most important reason behind developers’ inclination for 50% of developers.
Developers see app store fragmentations as a major challenge with each of the app stores having its own procedures and regulations for app submission, revenue model and payment terms.
Mobile web due to complex stack of languages and technology frameworks aren’t an easy platform to learn.
Contrary to popular belief, Google is managing Android fragmentation relatively well whereas BlackBerry and Java ME developers suffer more from platform fragmentation needing to produce almost twice the number of app versions when compared to Android developers.
As distributing apps globally and developing apps regionally becomes easier, Localisation will become a primary issue for developers in the near future.
iOS, Android and mobile web developers were found to be the most active users of cloud APIs, while BlackBerry and Java developers were late adopters.
Smartphone App Developers are also gearing up for a multi-screen future with close to 50% of them also developing apps for mid-range feature phones. Close to 25% of developers are thinking of developing apps for TV and set-top boxes in the future.
Global brands are playing an active role in the app economy. While mobile app developers and platform vendors have kick-started the apps phenomenon, it’s the global brands and local businesses that are fuelling the mobile app economy.