Put yourself in the shoes of someone who writes software to feed a family of four. Which platform are you going to support? The one that has the prettiest user interface? The one that’s open source? None of that matters, you’re going to write for the operating system that can give you the most revenue. Despite recent data showing that Android powered three out of every four smartphones sold in Q3 2012, developers are still making more money on iOS. It’s not all bad news however. The gap between how much a developer makes on Apple’s platform versus Google’s platform is quickly shrinking.
According to App Annie, 44% of all app revenues were made via the Google Play Store in September of this year. That numer was less than 30% just a few months ago. Distimo’s data shows a similar trend, though they say developers are still making 2.5 times more on iOS than Android. Flurry’s numbers show that in February 2012, for every dollar made on the App Store, developers made $0.23 with Android. That number rose to $0.47 in September. And finally there’s VisionMobile, who is the lone wolf in saying that Android developers are actually making more than iOS devs.
What can we learn from all this? Apple’s iOS platform will continue getting applications first because people like making money. Nothing wrong with that. At the same time, while developers used to look at Android and say it was impossible to make a living, the data now shows this is no longer the case. Developing for Android might still be a pain in the ass since over 50% of devices in use are on a two year old version of the platform, but you can’t ignore the number of Android users in the wild.
Disclosure: Stefan has done paid work for VisionMobile in the past, specifically work involving the economics of developing content for different mobile operating systems.