Mobile Developers Focus On iOS, Android for Push to Mobile Commerce

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2012-12-14

Mobile Developers Focus On iOS, Android for Push to Mobile Commerce

Appcelerator, a mobile development platform provider, and analyst firm IDC released results of a survey that showed developers foresee a continued surge in mobile commerce and the transformation of retail business to mobile platforms.

In their joint fourth quarter 2012 study, Appcelerator and IDC surveyed nearly 3,000 mobile developers and a vast majority said they expect mobile to continue to be pervasive both in enterprise investments and consumers' lives. In addition to the expansion of mobile connected devices, developers predict consumers will dramatically change their shopping behaviors through the availability of mobile commerce sites and mobile payment options.

Development across multiple operating systems is expected to increase, according to the survey results. However, as expected, developer interest in the iOS and Android platforms remains strong and stable. The introduction of new products in Q4 and the success of devices like the iPad mini, Amazon Kindle, Samsung Galaxy S III, and iPhone 5 only serve to make bolster developer interest in the two top platforms – developer interest in iOS and Android has remained relatively unchanged since Q3 2012, the survey showed.

Nearly 88 percent of developers predict they will be developing for two or more operating systems over the next year, a significant increase from the 69 percent figure reported in Q3 2012. Developers specifically expect to be working on multiple operating systems as it relates to mobile applications, with 49 percent reporting they plan to build mobile apps for two operating systems and 39 percent reporting they plan to build mobile apps for three or more operating systems.

"I am blown away by this quarter's survey results related to retail," said Appcelerator CEO Jeff Haynie in a statement. "We've known that more and more consumers are augmenting their brick-and-mortar shopping with mobile buying experiences, but this quarter over 90 percent of developers anticipate most retail companies will offer a mobile commerce experience in 2013. These findings stress the ubiquity of mobile and the need for the best user experiences that are available to consumers who want to shop and pay anywhere, anytime, on any device."

"This quarter's survey findings are very consistent with last quarter's findings: iOS and Android remain the top targets for developers. While this isn't terribly surprising, it underscores the challenges competitors face as they try to establish their own platforms in the market," said John Jackson, research vice president for Mobile & Connected Platforms at IDC, in a statement. "It will be most interesting to see how retailers drive the mobile transformation predicted by developers in 2013."

Other survey findings show that despite Amazon's continued investment in its signature Kindle tablet, developers doubt that the device provides significant application revenue opportunities. Less than 22 percent of mobile developers are "very interested" in building mobile apps for the Amazon Kindle. This indicates that the Kindle's install base and revenue potential are too small to entice developers to build for the platform.

Mobile Developers Focus on iOS, Android for Push to Mobile Commerce

Meanwhile, Google’s Nexus platform is garnering interest as a significant percentage of developers surveyed expressed interest in creating apps for the Nexus. More than 53 percent of developers report being very interested in building apps for the device, nearing interest levels expressed for Android tablets overall. Moreover, many developers believe Google is providing leadership for the Android tablet market and is taking a more direct role in Android development, a move that may help the company curtail much of the fragmentation issues that have frustrated developers in the past, Appcelerator noted.

Also, for its part, Microsoft's Windows RT-based Surface tablet has yet to excite the developer community, according to the survey. Of those surveyed, 45 percent are unimpressed by the hardware and 35 percent think Microsoft needs to do more to be successful. Even though the hardware is now available, developer interest in building applications for the platform is consistent with the results of the past two surveys, remaining relatively low at 36 percent, Appcelerator said.

Finally, 93 percent of mobile developers anticipate that it is "likely to very likely" that most retail companies will have enabled mobile commerce in 2013, the survey showed. Consumer behavior continues to underscore this transformation. Developers predict that 86 percent of shoppers will look up a retailer's site on their device while shopping in a physical retail store in 2013. Nearly two-thirds of developers also said they believe that consumers will make more purchases via their mobile phone than their credit card in 2013, which is reinforced by the fact that 71 percent of developers predict the mobile wallet will permeate the consumer experience in 2013, survey results showed.

Go here to download a copy of the Appcelerator/IDC Q4 2012 Mobile Developer Report.

Rocket Fuel