Appcelerator and IDC released the results of a new joint survey today that polled over 3,500 mobile developers, and provides a few very notable insights into the current state of the mobile industry.
One of the several conclusions that the two firms drew is that the enterprise is very high on developers’ priority list. An impressive 70 percent of the participants said they are working on applications that cater to this audience, an indication that companies are starting to open up to mobile at an accelerating pace.
At the same time, developers are divided over which OS will win the battle for the business user. The 2Q 2012 Mobile Developer Survey reports that 53 percent of developers believe that Apple is going to win this race, while only 37 percent think that Google’s Android will prevail in the enterprise. That’s a big shift from last year, when Apple and Android were at a dead-even tie with 44 percent of the market share each.
There are a few significant reasons that stand behind Apple’s definitive lead. One is the popularity of the iPad among mobile workers, and the second is the fact that Android is not considered entirely enterprise ready just yet . Security is a very big issue for the open source OS; most recently the Google Bouncer service took a blow to its reputation after researchers managed to find a loophole in the Google Play security service.
Appecelerator and IDC’s paper also says that 68 percent of the participants in the survey have shown interest in Windows 8 as a mobile platform, which could be a big boost for Microsoft in regaining the enterprise space. They’ve lost out on mobile, unable to translate their PC success to smartphones and tablets. With a new initiative across their devices and even rival platforms, as well as a new OS and tablet coming out soon, Windows 8 could very well be the number two OS for tablets in the enterprise in the near future.
There’s a big opportunity for Microsoft, if it can pull everything together at the right time. So far developers on Appcelerator’s platform have been disappointed in Windows Phone 7, even with Nokia’s additions. ”They’re very interested in developing for Windows 8 tablets, but there’s a bit of a reticence to make a real commitment yet,” says Director of Enterprise Strategy, Michael King.
“If they do a decent job in the next 12-18 months getting decent product out there and engaging the developer (especially the enterprise developer and security and management vendors), then they have a possibility to challenge Apple…Microsoft has to do all of that right, and enterprises can only control so much which devices come in the door. There’s still a preference in BYOD to go with iOS devices.”
While devs remain hesitant about Android in the enterprise, they are seeing a growing opportunity in the consumer space.
“…Android seems to have arrested the noticeable erosion of developer interest over the last four quarters,” which Appcelerator and IDC noted in the 1Q 2012 report. ”The huge growth in Android device shipments—especially handsets—and more affordable price points are outweighing steadily increasing Android ecosystem fragmentation and monetization challenges.”
Recognizing the potential behind Android’s consumer appeal, Google’s incorporated another important trend with developers into the latest Android version, Jelly Bean. The Appcelerator report shows that just over 64 percent plan to integrate cloud services into their apps within the next 12 months, with value-add perks for push notifications, social integration, photo capabilities and status update options.
While Android and Apple have extended more cloud tools into their primary OS, Appcelerator’s been a heavy pusher of these capabilities as well, offering many a la carte for developers to incorporate into their apps.