A new report from advertising and analytics company Flurry demonstrates just how dedicated developers still are to Apple’s platforms, with some 7 out of every 10 new apps being made for iOS, versus only 31% for Android in Q1 of 2012.
The firm measures the ‘new project starts’ by recording how many developers are downloading and implementing its analytics SDK in order to fire up a new project. Because developers normally integrate analytics some time before launching apps, these numbers are actually good projections of where new products are going to be launched.
There are several factors that Flurry says contribute to new projects being begun on iOS, rather than Android. Among those is that Android developers actually make 4x as much revenue on iOS than it does on Android. Flurry says that for every $1.00 a developer earns on iOS, he can expect to earn about $0.24 on Android.
The second major reason that could contribute to the disparity is Android hardware and software fragmentation. In hardware, only one device (the Samsung Galaxy S II) accounts for more than 10% of the top 20 devices, with 17 of those holding a share of 6% or less as of May 2012. This makes it more difficult to support a wide array of devices for some developers of apps like games, which have specific hardware requirements.
The fact that some 70% of devices on Flurry’s network are still on Gingerbread, an OS over a year and a half old, is also a problem. Flurry points out that Froyo, which shipped before both ICS and Honeycomb, Google’s ‘tablet optimized’ version of Android, has more penetration than both of the new ones combined. Users on versions of the OS that shipped over a year ago make up the majority of the platform’s users, that’s terrible.
This means that developers looking to support new user conventions and features that were shipped in later versions of the OS are limited in what they can do, preventing them from offering the best experiences in their apps. Compare this to iOS where some 75% of users are already on iOS 5+, introduced just this year.
Flurry’s tracking uses data from 70K companies across 185K mobile apps and 1.2B end-user sessions across 100M devices. That’s 36B sessions across half a billion devices a month.