While Apple’s iPad dominated tablet sales in 2010, there may be room for change in 2011. Enthusiasm for Android app development is rising fast in the coding community.
And that means the apps available to Android users is set to grow — fast.
A recent global survey of app developers by research firm IDC shows 74 percent of respondents as “very interested” in developing for upcoming Android OS-running tablets, up from 62 percent three months ago.
The survey, which questioned over 2,200 app developers around the world, cites the surge in new tablet debuts for 2011 as the reasoning for increased developer interest. At CES in January, manufacturers debuted 85 new tablets, the majority of which were running Android.
“My intuition is that Android is picking up that Linux, open-source crowd that feels excited to move from iOS development to an open platform,” Android developer Andreas Schobel told Wired.com in an interview. “The way you can weave Android applications together with intent makes it a very sexy platform, but one that requires a lot more discipline and effort. Like a powerful, yet complicated, science kit.”
And they’ll be cranking out the apps at a breakneck pace. Respondents to the survey plan to develop an average of 6.5 apps in 2011, almost twice as many as last year. Apple’s App Store has over 400,000 apps currently available for download, while the Android Market offers around 200,000 apps.
2010 was Apple’s year to shine in the tablet market. In the company’s recent earnings report, Apple reported 7.33 million iPads sold in the fourth quarter of 2010. We’ve yet to see that type of traction from an Android tablet — Samsung reported sales of 1 million of its Galaxy Tab in December.
And the iPad still leads the tablet pack in terms of developer interest, with 87 percent of respondents expressing interest in it. But developers aren’t necessarily beholden to one specific platform. Those surveyed plan to develop apps for four different devices on average, the big four being the iPhone, iPad, Android phone and Android tablet.
Although the pack seems eager to produce more Android apps in the coming year, developers aren’t without their concerns. About half of the respondents expressed concerns around version fragmentation. Google has been in the habit of pushing two Android updates per year, which means multiple versions of software for developers to configure for multiple platform versions. Handset manufacturers tweaking the firmware for each model of phone can also be hell on a developers’ workload.
It’s the cost of doing business with an open platform like Android. And judging by IDC’s numbers, it’s a cost developers are willing to pay.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Wired.com
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Fuente: Gadget Lab