The latest edition of the Developer Economics, study, prepared by the consulting firm Vision Mobile, includes the key findings of the world's largest survey of developers carried out to date, with over 10,000 participants from 137 countries.
First of all, we have to highlight the leadership of Android in the war of the development platforms for mobile applications, with 74% of developers choosing Google's operating system over any other one. One of the reasons may be that Android, unlike other operating systems for mobile devices like iOS or Windows Phone, is developed in an open way, and programmers can access both its source code and the events list, where unsolved problems can be seen and new ones can be reported.
Nevertheless, Android is closely followed by Apple’s iOS platform, which ranks second in the survey with 64% of the developers opting for this system. Microsoft, meanwhile, struggles to stay in the third place despite the fact that its mobile devices are not significantly popular. Windows Phone is thus left with a 28% of adoption as preferred development platform. Far below we find the BlackBerry 10 system, chosen by 12% of developers.
The business market and Apple, the most profitable
Other data to highlight is that 67% of the developers of apps have final consumers as their main target; 16% of developers create their mobile applications intended for companies, and 11% for business professionals. So far, everything seems normal. The paradox of these numbers is that developers creating apps for companies are more than twice as likely to earn between 5,000 and 25,000 dollars per application per month. However, almost half of the developers creating mobile applications targeting final consumers (48%) earn less than 100 dollars a month.
Thus, developing mobile applications for the enterprise market is more lucrative than doing it for the consumer market. In fact, the study indicates that only 6% of those targeting the consumer market earn over 25,000 dollars per month, a figure that rises to 15% in the case of developers targeting the business sector.
It is also ironic that although Android is the platform of choice among developers of mobile applications for business, Apple's system is much more profitable, according to the study. More than half of those who create native apps for businesses based on iOS earn more than 5,000 dollars a month, while only 23% of those who develop for Android earn that amount of money.
HTML 5, the most used technology
In the Developer Economics report we also find out that the most widespread technology for developing is HTML5, which is preferred by 42% of the programmers. Android's native language, Java, is the second most popular, with 38% of respondents claiming to use this technology. Meanwhile, the Objective-C language for iOS is the third most used tool (17%).
C# is still very popular among developers (14% of the respondents). This leads us to believe that Microsoft still has a chance to become a major force in the development of mobile applications, as according to the study the vast majority of Windows Phone developers use this tool.
In this regard, it must be stressed that a surprisingly 47% of iOS developers and 42% of Android developers do not use the specific programming language of these systems (Objective-C and Java, as discussed above). Instead, developers creating apps for Android and iOS opt for creating hybrid applications, i.e. those created with HTML5 development platforms such as phoneGap or its free version, Cordova.
Finally, it should be emphasized that, according to the study, most professional developers (those who have more than six years of experience) prefer to work with cloud platforms: 40% of respondents say they already use the cloud for developing mobile applications.