Google’s Android Soon To Become Most Important Mobile Platform

Google Android

Android looks set to replace Apple’s iOS in terms of importance to developers within the next 12 months. However, despite a clear vie for ultimate supremacy between these two platforms, almost all developers support both.

While iOS and Android form the core of developer support, there also exists growing interest from developers in BlackBerry OS and Microsoft Windows Phone. The growing momentum behind Windows Phone indicates that Microsoft has managed to convince developers that its platform is worthy of investment; its challenge now is to persuade consumers.

The trends in this year’s survey mirror closely changes in the wider smartphone market. Developers have been quick to respond to the exit of once-important smartphone platforms such as Windows Mobile, Symbian and WebOS, and have embraced opportunities that have arisen through emerging platforms.

The research also shows a move away from traditional cross-platform mobile application development approaches (e.g. Java, Flash, WAP). Instead, developers are focusing their efforts on web-based standards (e.g. HTML5), which seem to be the preferred approach to building cross-platform applications.

Yet, despite the increasing use of cross-platform programming approaches, most developers are still using vendor-specific distribution channels (e.g. Android Market) to deploy applications, as this is seen as the best way to reach the largest possible audience for their applications.

A smartphone platform’s success is dictated not only by the pull of consumers and the push of handset vendors and mobile operators but also by a healthy economy of applications delivered by third-party developers. Therefore, it is important for all players in the smartphone ecosystem to understand the choices developers are making today and the downstream impact of those choices.

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Adam Leach leads Ovum’s Devices & Platforms Practice. Adam has more than 15 years’ experience in the wireless industry. His work has focused on software platforms for next-generation devices and he has worked with handset manufacturers, platform vendors and operators, advising on software strategy and device software projects. His research at Ovum covers mobile phones, smartphones and adjacent consumer electronics, with a focus on software platforms, applications, developer ecosystems, and web convergence. Prior to joining Ovum, Adam worked for Vodafone defining global technology strategy within Group Terminals. While at Vodafone he was responsible for the establishment and technical leadership of the Linux Mobile (LiMo) Foundation. Adam also drove industry standards on mobile application security within the GSMA and OMTP. Adam previously worked for Symbian, leading the release of versions of Symbian OS and device software projects for Nokia, Sony Ericsson, and Panasonic.