Android developer revenue closing in on iOS

by: Robert TriggsJuly 17, 2013


iOS is often touted as the more lucrative platform for developers to sell their apps on, and it’s an all too often sight to see an application launch on Apple’s Appstore before it reaches Google’s Play Store.

However, research conducted for VisionMobile’s recent Developer Economics survey, which tracks changes in the mobile app economy, suggests that Android is finally starting to close the developer revenue gap with Apple’s iOS. The survey, which was released on Wednesday, queried 6,000 mobile developers, covering all of the major mobile platforms, so let’s take a look.

visionmobile android developer revenue 2


For starters, there’s an interesting breakdown of how consumers prefer to purchase their apps on each platform. Most developers opted to make money on Android from in-app advertising and pay per downloads, which is the same as Windows Phone. Apple customers seem to prefer in-app purchases as well as pay per download apps, and BlackBerry 10 makes a fair bit of its money from Freemium products.

visionmobile android developer revenue 1

But despite Android’s larger share of the smartphone market, iOS still manages to make more money for its app developers. However, this new data shows that the gap is closing, with the average app developer making just $500 more a month on iOS than on Android. Windows Phone came in with a relatively strong third place, and, perhaps more interestingly, HTML5 development came in well ahead of the Blackberry 10 platform.

HTML5 seems to be becoming a bit of a developer favourite, which is sure to please users of the new FireFox OS, with 52 percent of developers using HTML5 this quarter, up a couple of percent since last quarter. That puts HTML5 right behind iOS in terms of active developers, with 56 percent of developers currently using Apple’s platform, but still a long way behind Android, which is attracting over 70 percent of all development. This chart shows the data a little better than I can explain:

visionmobile android developer revenue 3

It’s worth noting that only 23 percent of HTML5 development is taking place directly for mobile apps, the other 38 percent is taking place on mobile websites. Only 7 percent of HTML5 mobile development is taking place on platforms using native APIs, such as Firefox OS. Nevertheless, this does suggest that there could be a growing trend towards general web development for mobile, rather than focusing on specific platforms.

Looking at what to expect in the future, the survey also asked the 6000 developers which platforms they are planning on expanding into, if any. The newer platforms, Windows 8, Blackberry10, and Firefox OS, all scored higher than the established iOS and Android platforms.

visionmobile android developer revenue

But, a lot of this is likely down to the fact that these companies are already working on the major operating systems, and are looking for new opportunities in emerging markets.

We’ll have to see if Android can finally close the gap on iOS come the end of the year.


  • Tamadrummer94

    Cool, now Google just needs to provide the tools for developers to create really cutting-edge UI and UX design. Android is great, but there are apps on iOS that blow everything in the Play Store out of the water in terms of look, interaction, and polish (I’m thinking TweetBot, Haze, Paper, etc.).

    • mobilemann

      it’s twice as bad on the tablet side. Good to see the massive amount of android phones being moved is having an effect.

    • Trent Richards

      I am just starting to get into mobile development and am glad to see things improving on the Android side. I plan to develop for Android first as you have to jump through less hoops to get apps on the Play Store. Hopefully over the next year we will see more improvements to the Google developer tools as well as profits continuing to rise.

    • Piyush

      specially games very much different not only , does android playstore Lacks games but also lack of optimization is also not that great and some games don’t have compatibility to other phone .

      • mobilemann

        true as well. Sim city from EA for example, runs on all my iOS devices, and 0 of the 5 Android devices i own. (including iOS 7)

        • Xennex1170

          Curious to hear what 5 Android devices you own and what version of Android you have on each.

          • mobilemann

            GS3, (i747, stock right now as i just had it replaced for bad sim tray, normally some tw rom, not because i don’t love cm10.1, but because MHL doesn’t work with it) GS2 (work, sprint, 4.0.4) gnex (Maguro, 4.2.2) a100 (4.0.4, stock rooted) and a touchpad running cm9. I know, a ton of sammy, but i did go through an earlier HTC phase; and i’m a gadget slut; i have a ipad mini and iphone 5 as well. (both on 7b3)

      • Trent Richards

        Agreed, the Play Store is dragging behind in gaming. I could be way off but I believe that java vs native languages has a lot to do with that. Google does seem to be making improvements on native language compatibility though and hopefully this will help attract more game developers.

  • Jared

    They only queried 6,000 developers out of the millions developing for each platform. I am sorry to say but this most likely doesn’t resemble what the real numbers are.

    • APai

      methinks every poll based statistical analysis pretty much always works on a sample snapshot of a narrow section – they try and keep the source as diverse and varied as possible, no ?

    • Cornstarch

      look like you need to go back to school to learn more about statistical analysis. this is also done in manufacturing to determine defective yield since it’s impossible to test out all the millions of the same product.