Despite the popularity and ubiquity of Apple’s iPhone platform, developers in the Asia-Pacific region have warmed towards Google’s Android platform in the last 12 months, according to a recent Ovum survey.
The second annual developer survey, titled Developer Insights 2011: Trends in Mobile Application Development, investigated what changes in the device market have influence developers' preference of mobile platforms and technologies when developing smartphone applications.
It did not, however, reveal any detailed statistics on development platform preferences.
While both the iOS and Android platforms were found to have the highest level of developer support, it is too early to write off the popularity of Blackberry OS and the rise of Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS.
“The growing momentum behind Windows Phone indicates that Microsoft has managed to convince developers that its platform is worthy of investment,” Ovum devices and platforms practice leader, Adam Leach, said.
The main challenge, according to Leach, is for companies such as Microsoft to find ways to persuade consumers, as the iOS and Android platforms are currently locked in a fierce battle for supremacy.
Another key finding in the report was that developers have shown a tendency to quickly end support for past popular platforms such as Windows Mobile, Symbian and WebOS when looking towards new opportunities offered by emerging platforms.
The decline of traditional cross-platform mobile application development approaches, such as Java, Flash, and WAP, has meant that developers are focussing their efforts towards web-based standards such as HTML5.
While building cross-platform applications looks to be on the rise, most developers are still turning to vendor-specific distribution channels such as Android Market for application distribution.
According to Leach, this is because developers see it as the most effective way to “reach the largest possible audience” for their product.
“A smartphone platform’s success is dictated not only by the pull of consumers and the push of both handset vendors and mobile operators but also a healthy economy of applications delivered by third-party developers,” Leach said.
As such, Leach feels that is important for everyone in the smartphone ecosystem to be aware of the choices made by developers, as well as what impact those choices make when they go downstream.