We are in a post-PC world, and there is a war on to be the platform that will dominate it. BI Intelligence believes the real network effect in smartphones is with developers, not the end users. When it comes down to it, consumers are largely drawn to phones with the most and best apps.
Therefore, if you want to see who will win, you need to follow the developers.
- Cash: iOS is just more profitable than Android for developers. Developers with apps on both platforms earned only $0.24 of Android revenue for every dollar of iOS revenue. Developers are speaking with their feet. According to Flurry, only 27% of the 16 thousand plus new app projects started in the fourth quarter of last year were on Android. That’s down from 37% of project starts in the first quarter of 2011.
- Distribution: Android’s monetization problem is partly related to distribution; there are over 80 app marketplaces across the platform. None of those marketplaces are as well-designed as Apple’s.
- Fragmentation: only 7 per cent of Android users are on the latest version, and hardware specs differ widely. This makes it harder for Android developers to create apps that work reliable on all devices.
- Don’t count Microsoft out: despite very low consumer adoption of Windows Phone so far, developers are intrigued with the platform, and new project starts have been rising fast.
For more on why Apple is winning, a look at the performance and prospects of other big players (such as Android, Amazon and Windows Phone), and an analysis on the impact of HTML5 on the platform wars, access the full report.