Yes, Google Android is beating Apple in market share. Yes, even if the iPod touch is included. Yes, it will likely continue to do so.
So here’s how mobile developers should think about it.
1) If you are making free mobile apps, make apps for both iOS and Android.
At this point, it makes sense to develop the apps side-by-side, with the same features, available for both iOS and Android at the same time.
Android is too big to ignore completely, but not big enough to be your only platform. You may wish to support multiple Android app stores, such as Amazon’s.
There is no reason for your iPhone app to be better than your Android app. There is no reason for your Android app to get more attention than your iPhone app. They should both be good.
2) If you are trying to make money selling apps, prioritise Apple for now.
Yes, Android has more users, but iOS users are more likely to pay for apps and in-app purchases. MLB.com CEO Bob Bowman told us last month that MLB At Bat — a $15 app — sells 5 times more iPhone copies than Android. We’ve heard of 10-to-1 iOS to Android sales ratios for other premium apps.
Part of it is the people who own the phone, part of it is how well Apple runs its app store vs. Google’s, etc.
You may want to make an identical version of the paid iOS app for Android, or figure out a way to make a free version for Android, just to be on the platform.
3) If you are designing mobile web sites, make sure they work well on both platforms.
And some of the other platforms, like BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7. It isn’t hard.
4) If your mobile apps talk to a server, make sure you can add new app platforms to the server whenever you want.
There’s no reason it should only support iOS or Android or anything.
5) For tablets, iPad is your priority.
There’s no reason to prioritise Android 3.0 Honeycomb yet, or RIM PlayBook. They aren’t selling very many yet. Eventually, they might, so it’s not a bad idea to test, and make sure your website works on Honeycomb and PlayBook. You can add apps later.
This could change eventually, but mobile apps generally have a 3-month to 1-year planning cycle, so there’s no need to get ahead of yourself. Let us know if there’s anything we’re missing.
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