Cross-Platform Tool Trends – Freemium & Flexible

CPT trends

Creating versions of an app for multiple platforms (at least iOS & Android) is an increasingly common requirement. Building and maintaining native code for every platform supported is both difficult and expensive. Cross-Platform Tools (CPTs) offer a solution to this problem by enabling sharing of code across platforms and in many cases a single code base can target multiple platforms. With such significant cost savings available, why don’t all developers use CPTs?

Learning curves & licensing

Unfortunately the platform spanning magic provided by CPTs doesn’t come without any costs. Most CPT vendors depend on licensing revenue – developers have to pay to use the tools. Of course the cost of licensing most of these tools is far less than the cost of a full native port of an app to one additional platform. However, there are more costs associated with adopting a tool than the license fee; learning to use a CPT and building confidence in it’s suitability for future projects requires a significant time investment. The potential future cost of switching away from a tool that isn’t working out as hoped is also something that developers must consider.

The spread of Freemium models

In order to build sufficient confidence in a CPT to build their businesses around it, some developers need lots of time for evaluation, perhaps building a side project before risking major apps or customer projects. For many the 30 day trials that were typical in the sector just weren’t sufficient. One of the first mobile CPTs, MoSync, was very early to recognise this and had generous free options early on, they even went open source with a dual licensing model back in 2009 around the time many of their competitors were just launching. This year has seen a tipping point, possibly partly due to increased competition in the sector but also to capture a larger share of the ever growing demand for mobile development – Appcelerator, Corona, RunRev, Unity and Xamarin have all either switched to freemium models or expanded their free offering for mobile. RunRev has also joined MoSync in releasing their code under an open source license, Appcelerator have open sourced more of their code and Xamarin have just open sourced some of their cross-platform API wrappers. Having access to the code for the cross-platform layer can help remove developer fears of getting blocked by a bug in their chosen tool and being entirely dependent on the vendor for a rapid fix.

Technical tradeoffs

In many areas platforms are sufficiently different that it’s not possible to unify them under a single API. CPTs get around this in a number of different ways:

1) Not providing access to the problematic functionality – this restricts what developers can create.
2) Providing a lowest common denominator API – this prevents developers from using the full power of the native platforms.
3) Providing their own implementation of the functionality – this can bloat apps and often prevents them from having a fully native experience.
4) Providing thin wrappers or separate extensions for each platform – this gives maximum control but adds complexity to the code, reducing the benefits of a cross-platform approach.

Different apps, or even parts of apps, will have different priorities that determine which of the above approaches are acceptable. For example, a mass market consumer utility app is likely to require a completely native look and feel for the UI, while an internal app for a large enterprise may want to look and feel exactly the same on all platforms to minimise both development and staff training costs. The same tradeoffs won’t always apply to every part of an app either; most games have a completely custom UI and don’t require access to the native platform UI components at all, however, they may well want access to the new Google Play game services, or the iOS 7 Game Controller APIs as soon as they are available.

A flexible future

Faced with a still growing list of platforms to support and wide array of new features in each new platform version, CPT vendors now have to specialise for a sufficiently profitable subset of the market that has fairly narrow requirements or become increasingly flexible. Most vendors currently provide flexibility through a native interface that enables the creation of third party extensions or plugins. Xamarin’s approach to flexibility enables developers to (semi-)automatically generate wrappers for any native API or library, which is ideal for developers who want to stick with C# for all of their own code yet build on the work of native developers for each platform.

Even greater flexibility is possible though. What if you could just build the parts of an application that made sense to be cross-platform with a CPT? RunRev has a beta for an embeddable library version of their engine to enable this, although currently only for iOS. They are also re-architecting their engine to put 3rd party extensions on an equal footing with the core functionality – even allowing them to extend the language where necessary. Another interesting option going forward here is Digia’s Qt, the open source cross-platform framework that was acquired and re-purposed for mobile by Nokia before they dropped it in favour of Windows Phone. Qt is now the native framework on BlackBerry 10, Ubuntu Mobile and Sailfish OS and is close to production readiness for iOS and Android; it also has a Tizen port ahead of the release of that platform. The core of Qt being C++, it can easily interface with native code on most platforms and has always been delivered as a library, so it’s also embeddable within native apps.

Flexibility enables greater agility

This library format means that developers can start cross-platform and add or optimise parts of their app with native code later. It’s possible to just add a full native experience for the platforms that get the most traction. Alternatively, starting on a single platform and then adding new functionality that works across all platforms after achieving some success and starting to port to other platforms is also an option. Last but not least, the library format also removes any concerns about lock-in. If a developer decides to migrate away from a CPT, they can do so gradually, without having to port/re-write everything in one go. It’ll be interesting to see how many vendors can push flexibility this far and how many developers take advantage of it.


Mobile Advertising versus App Store Promotion: a tale of woes and wins

As an independent developer, I ‘ve had my fair amount of successes and failures – examples of the former are TVPyx (Symbian, Windows Phone, Web) and TubeBusBike (Symbian).

Having developed apps on iOS, Android, WP, Symbian, Bada and Web – my experiences of all stores  has been mixed. As an independent developer it is increasingly difficult to get noticed in the sea of apps that are available on the various stores. I have had a fair amount of trial and error experiences with both advertising and merchandising across those stores. I ‘m here to share my experiences with both.

 There are a number of techniques available to developers that can be used to promote your app and increase downloads. Some of these you will need to pay for, some of which are just down to hard work and slick execution. Of course there is always an element of luck and right place right time usually built upon previous failures, think Rovio. I am going to concentrate on two methods of promotion.

 Advertising  and cross promotion – The method of promoting an app either through paid in-app advertising i.e. in someone else’s app/website or cross promotion through apps developed by the same publisher.

 App store promotion – The practice of promoting an app via app stores. Merchandisers (app store owner staffers) select apps by country/region to appear as featured or promoted apps on the store. Various ‘slots’ have different success rates where ‘featured’ is usually the Holy Grail in terms of maximizing eyeballs and downloads.


Advertising using one of the mobile ad networks like Admob or an ad exchange like Inneractive is a paid-for activity i.e. you would pay for a campaign of ad impressions to promote your application in the usual advertising model. While someone like Admob may be excellent in a market like the Germany, they may lack in a specific region like Vietnam. This is where an ad exchange comes in. If you have a truly global application or specific regional needs that no one ad network can provide the required local content, an ad exchange barters on your behalf with local inventory and then serves the ad that gives you the most return.

Not all ad mechanisms are created equal, so you should take care whilst selecting one. While the fill rate may be excellent compared to a single network, the downside is that you may not be getting premium content that would be served by a truly local provider i.e. lower CPM. So while a fixed ad network can provide targeted delivery in terms of locale, an ad exchange can level the playing field especially in those maybe hard to reach areas of the globe. You need to understand your market and choose accordingly.

My personal experience of using paid-for app promotion was very disappointing. For £1000 one of my apps was involved in a campaign that consisted of a carousel with 4 ads shown in succession. The campaign as a whole  garnered 260,000 impressions. My ad was the 4th on the carousel meaning that it would be the 4th ad served once the app the ad was in was invoked. Quite far down the pecking order. From this campaign there were 82 clicks of which it is unclear whether any of these actually resulted in any downloads. No spike, no step change, just noise. The ad was targeted at UK mainly but a few other countries were involved. So quite a high customer acquisition rate!

Anecdotal evidence suggests that in some markets, advertising in apps might even have an adverse effect on downloads, as they use data which comes at a cost to the user.

App Store Promotion

Being a ‘featured’ app on any store will dramatically increase downloads. Naturally being featured in a store is likely the result of one of the following; it’s a great app, it’s a great experience, great PR, a relationship with a journalist on a national newspaper, major marketing budget, lots of hard work and maybe a bit of luck to name a few.

To get noticed by a store owner – especially an OEM – you need to consider what they as the builder of the devices are currently trying to push. For Nokia it may be imaging or mapping i.e. you are more likely to be promoted if you are harnessing one of the strengths of the business, what makes them unique. For Samsung it may be an app that integrates with their TV solutions. Segmentation considerations also work e.g. apps for a demographic that are being targeted by a particular device or devices. Building a relationship with an app store owner is a means to get promoted but this is likely to be the result of an app that meets the needs of a campaign or some quid quo pro between the developer and the likely OEM. A strong relationship or understanding of needs is required regardless of approach. I am privileged enough to have been involved a number of OEM programmes and have some close relationships with a number of OEM’s and platform providers so this approach has very much worked for me.

There are a number different areas on a store where you can be promoted; featured, staff picks etc. Some OEM’s have mini stores that usually link to their platform stores like Windows Marketplace or Play. This gives the OEM the ability to merchandise their partner apps without seeking the permission of the platform owner. Nokia has the App Highlights app shipped with all their phones, other OEM’s have their own offering.

My experience of being featured on Windows Marketplace was great for downloads as I suspect being featured would be on other stores. App Highlights worked well until Nokia changed the app due to having to try to promote more apps themselves. This meant my app started to get lost in the sheer number of apps being promoted. The latter being the inherent problem of managing app promotion on store.

Below is a graph of my own experience of being featured on Windows Marketplace and being promoted through App Highlights. There is no halo effect, as soon as the promotion stops the graph returns to the usual run rate. The implication is that you have to continue to promote and market the app to get downloads. As you can see the experience is far more positive than paid-for app advertising. Being featured represented a 1000% increase (800 downloads/day) in downloads whilst being included in App Highlights represented a 200% (160 downloads/day) increase in downloads.

Continuous promotion is crucial

There are other spikes on the graph that are not either Featured or App Highlights. The honest answer is I don’t know what caused them. I only know that my app was featured or highlighted because a) someone told me or b) I happened to know the right people. The other spikes could have been caused by promotion on other parts of the store that I was unaware of or a blog picked up on the app etc. It is usually the case that the developer is not told that their app is being promoted which seems a shame for the developer and the store owner not to be able to capitalize on the promotion.


To get downloads, you need to continuously promote and market your app. I experienced no halo effect, as soon as the promotion stops the graph returns to the usual run rate. For me, getting featured and highlighted was a far more effective solution than paid-for advertising. The key is to build close relationships with multiple OEM’s and platform providers and use it to deeply understand their marketing needs.

Business Community

The state of App Search Optimization (ASO)

The reason why ASO is getting so much attention right now is because in today’s charts-driven app stores 10% of apps gets 90% of downloads. For developers, the only effective mechanism to catch attention is buying large amounts of app installs to catapult their app into the top 25 charts where people look for inspiration. But this approach has become very expensive as app install prices soar.

Indie developers who have limited resources struggle to compete and get their app in front of users’ eyes. At XYO, our goal is to change this and enable long-tail app discovery by helping users discover what they want even though they can’t express it. To build our site we looked into search behavior to understand how people find apps. What we learned is that the majority of users has no real concept of how to search for apps and no idea about the vast supply of great apps out there, because they can’t see them.

The Super Early Days of ASO - A SImple Model To Compare SEO  and ASO

To optimize for search it’s important to understand how users are searching. On the web, there is SEO as a proven tool for which countless SEO companies provide rich insights, and tracking success is easy. For mobile apps however, it’s mostly guesswork. “These are the super early days of ASO”, said Tomasz Kolinko founder of ASO specialist App Store Optimization (ASO) at the moment boils down to optimizing a list of keywords for queries that users are likely to type.

So how do users search? Based on our data on and by looking at the publicly available studies by Chomp (acquired by Apple last year), we have identified four types of users in app search.

Our main findings conclude that app search is dominated by vaguely expressed intents and very generic queries. Users are inexperienced in how to find apps and have difficulties navigating cluttered app stores.

80% of user searches are generic category or interest searches

XYO Insights - types of search queries

Most app searches happen with only a generally expressed intent. The majority of users (around 75%-80%) type general app categories into the search box. Examples of such categories are ‘social networking’, ‘education’ or ‘racing games’. Our findings are consistent with what app search company Chomp was publishing in its Monthly App Search Analytics study.

Around 10%-15% of all search queries look for simple inspiration: These users either type ‘games’ or ‘apps’ into the search box or add adjectives like ‘new’, ‘free’ or ‘fun’. Examples of such queries are: ‘addictive games’, ‘fun games’, ‘free apps’, ‘new apps’.

Only 5% of all users seek specific app brands or titles. Our data and other sources indicate that while some users are aware of mainstream brands like Angry Birds or Facebook, other mobile brands are mostly unknown.

For apps there is another category: functional app searches where the query describes what the user wishes to achieve. Examples of such searches are ‘crop photos’, ‘block calls’, ‘view movies’. Those functional queries are super important for classic web-based SEO – in mobile app search they are marginal at around 5% of searches.


Optimizing search for users who don’t know how to search

App Store search is based on app title and a keyword list. For Google Play the app description also counts, which opens up more opportunities for developers to add seasonal or trending keywords (e.g. ‘easter’ or ‘gangnam style’).

In general, it’s advised to use a keyword tool such as, MobileDevHQ, SearchMan , and These tools give an idea of keywords competitors are using and where the sweet spot of high search volume and low competition lies for a specific app.

[sectors slugs=’app-store-optimization’]

“Longer phrases are 70% of search volume on the web (indicator), they’re less competitive, and probably see higher post-click conversion (download) rates because the user explicitly searched for ‘free video poker game’, Niren Hiro, CEO at SearchMan told us. His conclusion: Developers can take steps to get the No. 1 rank under each of their ‘long tail’ keywords. That is, developers can optimize their rankings for keywords that will give them better results on the App Store when users go searching for certain kinds of apps. Optimizing for the long tail is key, because generic keywords will have high search volumes but a lot of competition and often lower conversion.

“We go from low(er)-volume, high-conversion keywords (such as ‘golfcoaching’), all the way to what we call secondary and tertiary market keywords, like ‘coaching’ or ‘sports’. Conversion for branded and function searches are likely to have higher conversion rates than inspiration or interest searches – and interest searches may have even better conversion rates than inspiration searches,“ explained Patrick Haig, VP, Customer Success  at MobileDevHQ. If history from the web will repeat itself, then it will become cumbersome for users to browse results, and they will start entering more descriptive phrases to get relevant results fast.

Apart from optimizing the keyword list, an app’s title is of utmost importance. We recommend including the most important keywords in the title to get found.

Showtime: App description and screenshots increase conversion

When users browse search results, two things matter most to increase conversion: app descriptions and screenshots. Over and over again we see the first three lines of description wasted by developers babbling about achievements that are meaningless to new users. Sure, a “Game of the Year” award is great news – but it’s secondary information as long as users don’t have a clue what the game is about. That’s why the app description should explain what the app does in the first 2-3 lines. Bullet points can be used if necessary, as well as precise and short copy. Later in the text authoritative reviews can make sense to build trust, especially for Android where this text is also indexed for search. “For Google Play, it’s even better if you can include reviews that include targeted keywords,” said Patrick Haig.

Screenshots have gained relevance significantly and are a popular medium for developers. Users rely on screenshots to see if they like the look and feel of an app they’re about to download, and –again– to find out what this app actually does. Jai Jaisimha CEO at Appnique: “Moment of truth: iOS6 design increases importance of the screenshot because that is mostly what they see in the App Store client on the phone.” That’s why adding explanatory text is useful – and developers should get creative about it. Patrick Haig: “Treating screenshots like a stop-motion commercial can be powerful.”

Reviews turn users into app ambassadors

Once a user has downloaded an app, ratings become priority because they are crucial for ranking: “We have an article here from Inside Mobile Apps that illuminates how important ratings are, segmented by each store (Google Play and iTunes). Also, it’s becoming even more important for publishers to improve upon their current version rating, as that’s the only rating seen by a searcher in-device (i.e., searching on their iPhone or iPad). Users have to dig in order to see the All Versions rating, which just doesn’t happen,” Patrick Haig from mobiledevHQ told us.


Though important, ratings are not that meaningful to base a download decision on: The average rating is 3.8 making it difficult to see the nuances within the star rating system. To increase conversion, internal and external reviews are getting more and more significant. Being proactive in asking for reviews can save a lot of pain: Prompting users for feedback makes them convey a problem before they post a negative review, recommends Appnique.


At the moment, a big trend in app store optimization (ASO) is trying to overcome the obvious discovery problem by stuffing app’s titles with keywords, longer descriptions or almost complete sentences. The race for the best phrases keywords is in full swing. Obviously user experience will suffer in the process if keyword optimization will be used too excessively by a large number of developers. A backlash might be the result, similar to when Google punished some of the shadier SEO practices with their Panda update.

The ASO tips presented above are not meant to be a ‘silver bullet’ for app discovery. ASO is a useful set of techniques used to increase discoverability through keywords, complementary screenshots and –most importantly– understanding how users are looking for apps. But it’s just one of many approaches to attract attention in a crowded app store, the main one being: having a great app that’s worth discovering in the first place.


TapJoy (53%) leads in cross-promotion networks, Flurry and Chartboost are chasing

Building a great app is not enough – to get lots of users, those users have to be aware that you exist. As app stores focus on top apps, which amount to less than 1% of all available apps, discovery has become a major problem for app makers. One solution is to band together in a cross-promotion network: “advertise” apps within other apps, making it easier for users to discover similar apps to the one they are already using.

Numerous models of cross-promotion exist

Cross-promotion networks (CPN) are used by developers both as a means for promoting their apps and monetising apps. When used for promotion purposes, there are numerous models out there, some being free, based on traffic exchange between apps, enabling developers to run low cost or free promotions. However, several CPNs operate on a cost-per-install basis, with developers paying for each user acquired. A special case of cross-promotion is incentivised installs, a practice that Apple has been trying to restrict on App Store.

Used by 7% of developers overall, usage of cross-promotion services is not very high and does not vary significantly by platform. Usage is higher among developers that develop games (13% of all games developers) and higher than average among developers working on comms & social networking apps (9%), entertainment apps (10%) and music & video apps (10%). These app categories are mainly addressing young consumers with limited purchasing power; using CPNs and incentivised downloads in particular, allows easy access to this target audience, which would otherwise not be able to acquire such apps. Developers who use CPNs tend to use one network (59%), but 18% use more than three networks. Overall, developers using CPNs will use 1.7 CPNs on average.

CPN usage increases with the number of apps developed, rising to 15% among developers who work on more than 16 apps per year. CPNs provide opportunities to cross-promote across one’s own apps, allowing developers to leverage the popularity of the most popular apps to drive usage of less popular or new apps. For developers working on several apps it usually makes sense to cross-promote across their app portfolio.


Tapjoy leads, with Flurry and Chartboost following behind

TapJoy is leading in the cross-promotion space, used by 53% of developers that use CPNs. Flurry AppCircle and Chartboost, follow at some distance and are competing for second spot (20% and 18%), while there are numerous other providers who have over 5% market share.

The most important selection criterion for cross-platform tools is the number of users reached (36% of developers using cross promotion networks) but it is only marginally higher than cross-platform availability (35%) and ease of integration (34%). Obviously, depending on how developers use these tools, the decision criteria may vary. For those developers who use CPN for promotion purposes, cost is important. We found that, on average, the typical CPI (cost-per-install) was $0.60 among iOS and Android developers, with no notable difference between these platforms. When used as a revenue source, the revenue potential becomes important, as indicated by 25% of developers using CPNs. About a fifth of developers rely on recommendations for selecting a CPN.

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Which cross-promotion networks are other developers using?

[toggle title=”Important things to know about this interactive graph”]

  • All the filters in the graph refer to survey questions in which respondents could select multiple answers. This means that there is no direct link between the filter and the use of the tool. For example, filtering on “Android” means that the respondents develop Android apps. It doesn’t imply that they use the tools for their Android apps specifically, or even that the tool supports the Android platform. Use filters as a guideline only.
  • Keep an eye on the sample size. If the sample size is low, the graph doesn’t offer strong conclusions about the popularity of different tools. Use your good judgment when making decisions.[/toggle]

    Find the best cross-promotion tool for you!

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How Many Users Is Realistic?

One of the most common mistakes developers make when planning the business case for a new app is dramatically overestimating the number of users they will be able to attract, particularly for their first app. The typical argument goes something like this: “My app will be compatible with 400 million devices, if I can reach just 1% of those, that’s 4 million users”. The trap here is that 1% sounds like a very conservative fraction of the installed base to target but in reality it is incredibly high. Of the 664 respondents in our latest survey who integrate user analytics and provided us with their information about the active user base for their most popular app, only 6% had over 500,000 users. The nature of store charts and limited promotional space means that those who break the half million user barrier are quite likely to gain many, many more users than that, however, what’s a realistic figure for everyone else?

One of the more interesting findings we published was that, excluding those with more than 500,000 users, the mean average active user base for iOS developers was 70,000 users vs. 51,000 users on average for Android. The median user base, is 27,500 users for iOS and 15,500 for Android. The percentage difference between means is much smaller than that between medians, suggesting that the distribution of active user bases in general is worth further investigation.

As can be seen from the chart above, 200,000 – 500,000 users is the least common user base size, despite being twice as large an interval as the 50,000 – 200,000 option immediately below it. This suggests that there is a threshold level somewhere near 200,000 users, such that if you break that level you’re likely to “get noticed” and end up with significantly more users. There’s a similar bump near the bottom end of the scale where 501 – 2,000 users is more commonly reported than 2,001 – 5,000 users. This is likely to reflect the difference between apps which are not (effectively) marketed and those that are.

In addition to the platform differences noted above, there are also interesting differences in user base size by revenue model and app category. For example, apps using advertising as a revenue model (and therefore presumably free downloads) are more likely to gain over 50,000 users than other models, whilst freemium shows a very similar distribution to paid downloads. The games category is incredibly competitive and developers there are less likely to have more than 50,000 users, whilst developers in the music and video category had the highest probability of breaking both the 50,000 and 500,000 user barriers. The combinations of revenue models and categories are almost endless but the chart above has dynamic filters so you can explore the opportunities in your own app category. Please let us know about anything interesting you find in the comments below.

Business Platforms

Multi-Platform Developers Are Better Off

Our latest survey shows a concentration of developer attention around the iOS/Android duopoly. Given the reach and revenues available on the two leading platforms compared to the competition, it’s unlikely that developers will find significant success without targeting one or both of them. However, our survey data also shows that developers should not limit themselves to those two platforms. There is a strong correlation between average revenue and the number of platforms targeted.

Developer Economics 2013 - Multi-platform developers generate higher revenues

74% of developers use two or more platforms concurrently. At the same time, developer platform choices are now narrowing. On average mobile developers use 2.6 mobile platforms in our latest research, compared to 2.7 in 2012 and 3.2 in our 2011 research. The Android-iOS duopoly in smartphone sales is gradually creating a concentration of developers around these two platforms: 80% of respondents in our sample develop for Android, iOS or both, making them the baseline in any platform mix. Developers that do not develop for one of these two platforms generate, on average, half the revenue of those developers that do, leaving little doubt as to the concentration of power within these two major ecosystems.

In our Developer Economics 2013 survey of over 3,400 developers we found that 49% of developers use just one or two mobile platforms concurrently and 75% use up to three mobile platforms. The number of platforms developers use depends to some extent on which is their lead platform. In mobile development, loyalty to one platform is not something that pays off. Our research shows that the revenues are higher when using more platforms. For example, an iOS developer porting an app on Android is likely to experience some growth in revenue. At the same time, for developers working on four or more platforms, higher revenues are probably the result of extending an already successful app to more platforms. Obviously, this is not something that all developers can afford to do; it is a strategy more suited to large publishers or commissioned developer teams that are large enough to support a number of platforms.
[doritos_report location=’DE13 Article – Mulit-Platform’]


Developer Economics 2013 Survey: iOS vs Android shoot-out

iOS is the best platform for generating revenue,
Android provides a better development environment

Developer Economics 2013 - Android vs iOS shoot-out
We asked developers to pick the top platform, among all platforms they have used or are planning to use, on a number of different aspects of mobile development such as discovery, learning curve and monetisation. We then compared how iOS and Android fare against each other, based on the opinions of developers using both platforms.

The outcome is a tie when it comes to user base, with developers’ opinions divided between the two platforms. However, iOS was ranked higher on 4 out of the six remaining categories, with a clear advantage on app discovery (50% iOS vs. 23% Android) and revenue potential (66% iOS vs. 12% Android). The perception that iOS provides better monetisation opportunities is well engrained with developers and is backed by Developer Economics 2013 survey data. App discovery has developed into a problem for both platforms given the size of their app stores, which now well exceed 700,000 apps. However, despite some initial complaints about the new curation model on App Store, the developer verdict is quite clear on app discovery, which goes to iOS. iOS also leads, but with a smaller margin on development environment and documentation & support.

Android has a clear advantage on development cost (32% Android vs. 14% iOS) and a small lead on the learning curve ( 26% Android vs. 20% iOS). However the total score for the two platforms on the latter two aspects was lower than 50% indicating that most developers that use both Android and iOS believe that neither is best in these areas. In fact 24% of developers among those using Android and iOS indicated that HTML is the best platform in terms of learning curve while 7% indicated that its Windows Phone.

For most developers, the platform perceptions boil down to a decision about which platform to prioritise, i.e. where to invest more resources and which of the two platforms to develop for first. Several other factors may come into play when making a decision on the “lead platform”, such as prior experience or local demographics, but it is fair to say that iOS comes out as the winner in developer perceptions. This is consistent with our figures on lead platforms: among developers using iOS and Android, iOS is the lead platform for 42% of developers, while Android is the lead platform for 31% of developers.

[doritos_report location=’DE13 Article – iOS vs Android shoot-out’]


Different Ways of Winning on the App Stores

A recent report from Canalys highlighted the extreme concentration of income distribution across the iOS and Android stores in the US. The top 25 publishers make 50% of the revenues. 24 out of 25 of those are games publishers (the 1 exception is the Pandora music streaming service). During the first 20 days of November these 25 publishers made $60m from paid downloads and in-app purchases in the US alone. Is there still room left for smaller publishers? How can smaller companies succeed and start winning on the app stores?

Platforms Tools

Cross-Platform Tools – Functionality and Trade-offs

Cross-platform tools (CPTs) are a class of developer tool that aim to enable a single implementation of application functionality to run across multiple platforms. If that definition seems very broad it’s because the category covers a wide range of use cases, technology approaches and forms of app deployment. In our analysis of this sector from February 2012 we identified over 100 tools across three forms of app deployment (native vs. web vs. hybrid) and five different technology approaches.

Fundamentally the various platforms are not compatible and the use of a third party tool to solve this issue comes at a cost. The effort saved through a CPT often has a financial cost but more often the largest trade-off is against a loss of flexibility, control or performance. Different tools produce different compromises. In many cases what is lost is not required to deliver the desired experience, so it’s worth understanding the different approaches and choosing the right tool for each project.

Business Platforms

How to select a cross platform development tool

With the wide selection of cross-platform development tool (CPTs) available in the market, how should a developer select a development tool? The exact selection criteria will vary depending on the project and the individual developers involved. However, it’s valuable to look at the criteria other developers have used to select development tool and, even more importantly, the reasons they’ve stopped using them. Fortunately, we have this data from our cross-platform tools survey earlier in the year.