We are often asked why we decided to develop our mobile apps in iOS rather than Android. And, it goes right back to our general business philosophy of giving our customers the best value for their dollar. It is generally accepted that developing in Android is more difficult, more challenging, more time consuming, and subsequently costs more. In fact, some developers claim that Android development costs 2-3 times more than iOS. Read about it in the post “The Fallacy Of Android-First.”
Why Don’t Designers Take Android Seriously?
It is largely held that iPhone users shop for bigger ticket items on their phones and mobile pads than Android users. Jim Edwards writes in Slate’s Business Insider, “Here’s Why Developers Keep Favoring Apple Over Android” and addresses some of the Socioeconomic reasons for this being the case.
Cennydd Bowles, a U.K. based design lead at Twitter, raised the issue recently in a thoughtful article on Medium titled, “Why Don’t Designers Take Android Seriously?” He wanted to know why app developers don’t like working on Android apps.
“Android is the dominant platform of the next decade with about an 80 percent market share in some areas of the world. Why aren’t designers paying it more attention?” Bowles asked.
He got a bunch of responses from his colleagues and readers. In summary: The replies were mostly variations on the theme that Android users don’t pay for apps, they don’t have data plans, you can’t monetize them easily, and designers are all iPhone users and don’t really understand Android users.
But, the real heart of the matter from a developer’s perspective is, “Where’s the meat!?” Or, more appropriately, where are the development dollars being spent? Harry McCracken, writing for time.com, published, “The Smartphone App Wars Are Over, and Apple Won.” Here are some of this thoughts:
- iOS users are more app-happy and free-spending than Android users. There are plenty of stats saying that’s the case, such as this one and this one. That makes iOS a more attractive market even though it’s got fewer bodies than Android.
- Supporting multiple platforms is tough. Many of the most interesting apps come from tiny startups that pretty much don’t have the option of releasing two ambitious pieces of software at the same time. Something’s gotta give, and what gives is nearly always Android. Even big companies with lots of resources — such as Facebook, which released Paper as an iPhone exclusive — can’t do everything all at once. Which makes it that much tougher for Android to have a shot at pulling even with iOS, let alone breezing past it.
- Developing for Android is a hassle. The obvious obstacle is the challenge of supporting a bevy of devices from different manufacturers, with varying specs and hardware features, running different variants of the operating system. But even without that factor, I’ve chatted with many coders who say it’s just harder to get a slick app up and running on Android than it is with iOS. How hard? Maybe twice as hard.
- Sometimes the second platform a developer supports is the iPad. Such as the e-mail app Mailbox, which originated on the iPhone, and then arrived in a version nicely rethought for the iPad’s larger display. A year later, an Android version is still a to-do list item for Mailbox’s creators. Might it have shown up faster if there was no such thing as an iPad?
- In the U.S., Android isn’t the runaway market-share champ. This country remains the single most important producer of smartphone apps, and Google, though ahead, isn’t creaming Apple here. In Comscore’s latest numbers, for instance, Android has 51.5 percent share and iOS has 41.8 percent. That reflects a small dip for Android and an uptick for iOS, an inconvenient truth for anyone who argues that Apple’s operating system is on an inexorable march towards irrelevance.
- iOS has a cultural advantage in Silicon Valley. As far as I can tell, the majority of the tech execs who decide how to allocate development resources are still iOS users, personally. If they were all required to give up their iPhones for six months in favor of the Android device of their choice, it might change their perspective.
What Was the Deciding Factor for us in selecting iOS?
It is the cost to our customers. Simply put, we can develop an app more quickly in iOS. Sometimes twice as fast! That means fast to market, less time in production, and reduced development cost. That delivers value, and we value that.