We reported on a trend in the mobile development scene Wednesday - Android is on the rise. It's true, but it's not the whole story. While Android is on the rise, the behemoth that is Apple is still dominating the hearts, minds and most importantly, the time and resources, of developers.
Flurry Analytics runs a study every quarter that looks at the support each major mobile operating system gets from developers. The results may or may not be surprising depending on whatever camp - Apple or Android - you belong in. Let's take a look:
As you can see, the results have shifted over the past year and Android is growing again while Apple is losing ground. The only problem is that it's still not enough. Apple still commands an overwhelming amount of support from developers and Android only just gaining back some share after dropping down to 25 percent is not exactly a confidence booster.
Flurry suggests that Android's gains could also be purely seasonal. They found that iOS development grows as the holiday season approaches. Considering the absurd amount of iPhones and iPads that were sold during the holiday season last year, it's not surprising that developers want in on all that new potential revenue.
If it was just a fight between Android and the iPhone, Android might have a chance. Unfortunately for Android, Apple has a not-so-secret weapon in the iPad. It still commands a massive majority of the tablet market and developers are going to developer for iOS over Android tablets where only two brands have really managed to break into the market. When you consider that the Amazon Kindle runs a heavily-modified version of Android that doesn't even resemble the regular Android OS, it gets even more bleak for the average Android developer.
Of course, we can't forget the elephant in the room either when it comes to Android development - fragmentation. Having to develop for a multitude of devices as well as the multiple versions of Android there are, it creates a challenge for developers. With Apple, developers just have to create an app for iOS and it runs across pretty much every device from the iPhone 3GS onward.
Here's a graph showing the top phones that are being used that run Android. You can't deny that fragmentation is a problem when the breakdown looks like this:
Regardless, things are looking up for Android. It's obviously not a failure as it still commands a pretty hefty chunk of the market in terms of sales. Google just needs to centralize the Android ecosystem to make app development easier on developers and consumers. Nothing sucks more than finding out that an app that runs fine on Gingerbread still breaks because of the phone you're using. Looking at you, Facebook.