Facebook is seeing a trend in Europe of app developers going “Android-first.”
That’s significant because for years, Apple’s iOS operating system for iPhone and iPad has been the preferred first stop for any company launching an app. If an app succeeds on iOS, then only later will a company think about making a version for Android. Often months or years later, and sometimes never.
That’s why Android apps tend to look and feel a bit second-rate compared to the same apps on iPhone — they often are just that. The iOS/Android split is weird because globally 80% of users are on the Android system, yet iOS and its roughly 10% of users are the top priority for developers.
So it would be dramatic for companies to reverse that trend.
Yet that is what Facebook is seeing among some companies in Europe, according to Facebook’s Europe, Middle East, and Africa platform director, Julien Codorniou. Developers are beginning to sense that because more people are Android users than Apple users, they’re losing money by working on the smaller iOS platform first, he told Business Insider UK.
Historically, Apple has been the preferred platform. Apple’s higher-income users are often more lucrative targets for app advertisers and in-app payments and shopping. It’s also simpler for developers to use, Apple has only one version of iOS running at any one time (the newest one) and the vast majority of Apple users keep their devices updated to the newest version. Android, by contrast, is “fragmented” into several different versions across hundreds of different phones — and all those versions are a headache for developers who must make a separate app tailored for each one.
But Codorniou told us Facebook has a team of evangelists encouraging Android developers to use Facebook as a way to build and promote their apps: “As of today, I have four guys from my team in Paris talking to Android developers about the greatness of Parse, Facebook login, app links, app events. It’s a very important bet for us.”
Wait, Android developers? Android-first, really?
“People look at the numbers,” he says. “They want downloads, installs. They know that the monetization is catching up on Android. Of course iOS is the better platform when it comes to monetization, but it’s easier to update your app on Android. There are many people on an Android phone. … The world you described [in which Apple is dominant] was true a year ago, but I see that things are changing.”
“The vision we have with Parse and with the platform in general is to accelerate the time to market. It should not take you six months to develop from iOS to Android.”
“There is a pattern coming from Eastern Europe. The Russian developers develop on Android first because of a big audience, and it maybe being easier to develop. They liked the fact that they could submit a new version of the app every day. [With Apple, you have to get each new version of the app approved before it hits the App Store. There is no version-approval system for Android.] This is a trend that I see and I think it is going to accelerate.”
Do you work at an app developer that switched to go Android first? Contact Business Insider UK at [email protected] to tell us your story.