Opinion: It Harms App Developers to Release Late on Android

I have seen countless applications released on Android months or even years later than on iOS. This seems to be a strange choice for the developers to take, as statistics show that it may actually harm their profits. In this article I will discuss my views, and share the evidence that supports them.

My View

I’m going to make my viewpoint clear from the start: developers are making a mistake by releasing on Android late. As an Android and Apple user I often feel that developers seem to favour the App Store rather than the Play Store – for example, the highly sought after app Instagram. This is an application which has had huge success over the past few months due to its acquisition by Facebook and the introduction of its Android application.

Instagram!

Although Instagram has been available on Android for far less time than similar apps, it has still had between 10 and 50 million downloads, a massive amount! The application on the App Store, which has been available for a long while now, is apparently only at 15 million downloads. You can easily see from these statistics alone that the Android version scooped up an enormous amount of users during two months, perhaps even surpassing that of the iOS version.

What Do the Stats Say?

As we’ve seen, when apps do switch over to Android they can still gobble up a huge amount of users. This shows that developers might wait to launch an Android version on purpose to gain publicity for the app first.

However, I believe the stats disagree with this idea. Looking at these stats from 2011, which outlined the worldwide smartphone market, we can see that Android controlled 48.8% of market share while iOS fumbled behind at just 19.1%. This shows that Android now controls a vast majority of the global smartphone market. Bearing in mind their 244% annual growth in 2011, I’d wager that this is going to increase even more.

Statistics taken from 2011

This hints that at the moment the Android OS powers nearly half of the smartphones bought across the world! This staggering figure is crucial in a developer’s choice to release an application. Apple, the once shining beacon of technology, is slowly and surely being dominated by Google’s free OS as we move into a new generation which will be controlled by the Android market.

This is a really beneficial factor for all Android users, as more investments and development will be forced into the Android project, making it bigger and brighter every day and hopefully encouraging developers to stop making the same mistakes!

Why Do Developers Do This?

The App Store has been around much longer, satisfying an enormous amount of people for years. It’s definitely the more established app market, providing a great service. The Google Play Store (and the Android Market before it) has been in existence for considerably less time. However, during this time it has undergone a vast renovation, including a totally reformatted layout and style, and consolidation with other Google stores. This recent upgrade by Android has been extremely beneficial giving them a new image and setup!

iPad and iPod touch

Though Android do primarily control the global smartphone market, Apple control others – such as the tablet market. According to Gartner, the iPad controlled 61% of the market in April of this year, with practically double the share of all Android tablets combined. And don’t forget the iPod Touch, a non-smartphone device that supports apps. This in turn has sold far more units than any Android hardware with the same concept.

Developers choose to release on Apple first because of their wide variety of devices and control of key markets, as well as their vastly developed application hub (compared to that of Android).

Conclusion

All in all, I feel that I have shown that developers are making a mistake by waiting to release applications on Android, although I can understand their reasons for doing so. As time goes on Android will gain more and more users, creating a deeper problem for the developers. In the future I hope that we will see an increase in apps being released for Android first.