Appcelerator Reports: Not all Mobile Devices Expected to Have a Good 2013

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Katie Ingram avatar

With the release of its "IDC Q4 2012 Mobile Developer Report," Appcelerator has announced its mobile predictions for 2013 that stem from trends during the latter half of 2012.

A mobile development platform, Appcelerator and the International Data Corporation (IDC), surveyed 2,837 of Appcelerator Titanium developers from November 15 to 26 about their thoughts on mobile, social and cloud issues.

There are four areas that seemed to stand out in the report: the support or lack of support for mobile and tablet devices, Apple’s continual lead as a developer favorite and problems with Amazon’s Kindle e-reader.

Apple Rules the World… For Now

Apple, one of the most sought after developer platforms for apps and other mobile products, continues to remain at the top of the market with the iPhone and iPad receiving 89 and 86 percent of developer support. Android, Apple’s most formidable competition, follows closely behind with its phones at 77 percent and tablets at 64 percent.

Despite an apparent favoring of Apple devices, the products appear to be difficult to work with. According to the report, developers are worried about fragmentation issues due to the variation of products, such as having to design applications for six different screen sizes.

Developers are also concerned about inconsistencies with polices regarding app submission in the iTunes app store -- despite recent improvements to the app’s search function and the overall Apple Operating system. While those surveyed in the report admit that so far there haven’t been any problems, only 19 percent of those asked in the survey felt that Apple has control over possible fragmentation issues or is easy to develop for.

With these problems in mind, Appcelerator concludes thatbecause of a lack of confidence in Apple’s system, other “ecosystems” may have the chance to offer their services to developers by introducing easier to use multi-platform systems that can be used by the most popular operating systems, like Android and iOS.

Despite a strong following, Android appears to not have the same issues. While Android appears to be improving and continues to be good mobile alternative, it isn't going to overtake Apple in 2013.

The report suggests that most developers will be concentrating on creating apps for two or more operating systems as they are seeing the benefit of cross-platform apps as opposed to creating one app for one operating system and then another app for another system. To be more specific, 88.4 percent say they plan to create apps two or more operating systems, which is up 68.9 percent from the company’s last survey.

The Nexus Tablet is Here to Stay

Since the introduction of the iPad, tablets have proven to be a good alternative for those who like compact devices, but need more than what a smartphone can offer. While the iPad is still the front-runner for most, the influence of Google’s Nexus Tablet on developers is starting to grow, as about 54 percent of developers see it as a worthwhile investment and want to develop apps for it, while 66 percent support the device in general.

Learning Opportunities

“Google is showing strong leadership and establishing with the Nexus a reference architecture for other Android tablet manufacturers to follow," says the report.

Those who took part in the survey see the Nexus tablet as a sign that Google is committed to their product and that Nexus can avoid many of the fragmentation issues that Apple products currently face.

The Surface isn’t Very Smooth

Along with their launch of Windows 8, Microsoft also introduced a variety of different tools and devices such as the Surface, a tablet-laptop hybrid. As the Surface and Windows 8 are new, many developers feel the company needs to improve overall functionality of the product.

Despite lingering worries, developers are impressed with the Surface and believe it has potential, with 35.5 percent in favor of developing for the device when Microsoft updates Windows 8.

It’s a Bad Day to be Kindle

Despite being a popular with consumers, Amazon's Kindle isn't very appealing to developers, as it only had 21 percent of the interest. Developers find that the device won’t improve their revenue and it currently doesn't have a lot of opportunity in terms of app development.

The report says that there are three things that developers look for when choosing a platform -- a large installed base, low cost devices and revenue. The Kindle doesn't have a large installed base and isn't expected to generate a lot of revenue -- which leads to it being a less favorable device for developers.

Whether these predictions will ring true in the new year remains to been seen, as Microsoft works on issues with Windows 8, Apple is continually updating its products and an eventual update to the Kindle may spark developer's interest.