Cloud services that developers plan to integrate into their mobile apps in the next 12-18 months
The survey, besides showing that the iOS and Android platforms are treading water, revealed that the RIM platform could be headed for serious trouble, says Ellison. Developer interest in RIM’s Blackberry dropped 11 percentage points since last quarter, with only 27 percent of developers saying they were “very interested” in creating apps for the platform—despite the upcoming Blackberry tablet, and despite that many of the survey respondents work on enterprise and in-house applications, which have been an RIM stronghold.
Developer interest in Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 OS also dropped 7 points, to 29 percent of respondents, but it still pulled ahead of RIM in overall developer “mindshare.” “Microsoft is probably in the best position to win the number-three place [in the mobile market],” says Ellison, who credits this to PC integration, Nokia’s switch to Microsoft’s mobile OS, and the company’s enormous distribution channels.
As for Android tablets, developers are showing substantially less interest in individual devices than in the platform as a whole. Ellison attributes this to their frustration with the hardware implementations so far—particularly the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Motorola’s Xoom tablet. One portion of the survey that was not made public revealed that developers believe the 10-inch format pioneered by Apple will eventually overtake seven-inch tablets.
Internet connectivity and cloud computing are becoming increasingly important to app developers, with 84 percent reporting they have already incorporated cloud connectivity into their apps. Much of this consists of integration with social media like Facebook and Twitter, but Wunderlist has achieved deeper integration with the cloud. Indeed, since the program’s distinguishing feature is its ability to sync seamlessly across all devices and platforms, it would hardly exist without cloud connectivity.
One of the reasons Ellison of IDC says his company used Appcelerator’s developer base for the survey is that they may be less biased than average. Appcelerator’s Titanium platform is designed to make it easy for Web developers to use their site-building skills to create apps that can then be compiled into native apps for mobile platforms. So these developers tend to be relatively new to mobile development and may be less partisan. Appcelerator’s motivation to partner with IDC is no less directly self-interested: the developer overload and device fragmentation problems revealed in the survey are precisely what its platform is designed to solve.
Wunderlist’s Koch is a big fan of the Titanium platform, having settled on it after evaluating competing platforms like PhoneGap. He says that the development time for realizing Wunderlist in multiple operating systems was just four months, a schedule that would have been impossible without Titanium. When asked whether he planned to port Wunderlist to RIM and Windows Phone 7, he said he’d like to but he simply doesn’t have the time.