Developers Hot for Amazon Kindle Fire, Windows Phone: Survey

An Appcelerator and IDC survey shows that developers are interested in building apps for the new Amazon Kindle Fire and the Windows Phone platforms.

Appcelerator and industry analyst firm IDC have announced results of a survey that shows developers are highly interested in building apps for Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet, with a resurgence of interest in Microsoft's Windows Phone platform.

Appcelerator, a maker of an integrated mobile platform for rapidly developing native and HTML5 mobile Web applications, and IDC conducted a joint survey of 2,160 Appcelerator developers around the world. The survey findings show that Amazon's new Kindle Fire edged Samsung Galaxy Tab as the most popular Android tablet in North America, on par with interest for the iPad prior to its launch in April 2010 and second only to the Galaxy Tab globally with developers. Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 also decisively moved ahead of Research In Motion's BlackBerry OS to become the clear No. 3 mobile operating system behind iOS and Android.

In an interview with eWEEK, Scott Schwarzhoff, vice president of marketing at Appcelerator, said when surveyed among 15 Android tablets, Amazon's low-cost, content-rich e-reader was second only to the Samsung Galaxy Tab globally in developer interest. A regional breakdown shows Amazon edging Samsung in North America for the top slot. At 49 percent of developers very interested in North America, the Kindle Fire is just 4 points less than where interest was in the iPad prior to its launch in April 2010.

"When we saw that so many Android tablet devices were being announced last year at CES, we said price would be a key factor for people to get an Android tablet," Schwarzhoff said. "And price and availability of apps are big for the Kindle Fire."

According to the survey, developers said they believe Amazon's rich content ecosystem, Appstore, target demographic and e-commerce integration are the key reasons for interest in the new Kindle Fire.

However, fragmentation of the Android platform continues to be a concern for developers. When considering Kindle Fire's potential drawbacks, fragmentation and lack of features such as camera and geo-location were the two top concerns cited by developers.

"Amazon has shown exceptional early success in appealing to developers with the Kindle Fire, showing that price and differentiation are keys to competing in the crowded Android tablet space, rather than simply chasing the iPad market," noted Scott Ellison, vice president of Mobile & Connected Consumer Platforms at IDC, in a statement.

As the mobile industry advances, contenders are finding success by securing new footholds and partnerships to compete against Apple's dominance, Appcelerator said. Amazon announced the Kindle Fire, a smaller, cheaper Android-based tablet that leverages its large content library while Microsoft's Window's Phone 7 is building strong European developer enthusiasm thanks to its Nokia partnership, Schwarzhoff said. Developers and businesses gave high marks to these moves, which contrast sharply against BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry's QNX-based PlayBook and webOS, all of which collapsed in interest with developers this past quarter.

RIM saw developer interest in its BlackBerry OS phones drop 7 points to 21 percent and interest in its PlayBook QNX-based tablets drop 6 points to 13 percent.