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

Mobile developers keep their focus on iOS and Android as the industry moves to mobile commerce, according to a joint survey from Appcelerator and IDC.

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.