Android is more popular than iOS among users — most likely because it tends to cost less. In fact, an NPD Group study released on Tuesday found that Android now has 53 percent market share in the United States, as compared with a paltry 29 percent for iOS.
If you want the best smartphone, what you really mean, to a degree, is that you want the best apps. And if you want the best apps, you want an iPhone, despite the fact that Android is outpacing iPhone in the marketplace.
When we first made the point that consumers would do well to “follow the herd” when selecting a smartphone, we assumed that app developers would build stuff for the most popular devices.
That appears not to be the case.
Even as users flock to Android, developers are headed the other way.
This graph from Flurry Analytics shows how the ratio of Android to iOS developers has changed throughout 2011:
Clearly, if you want the platform with the best apps, you still want an iPhone.
Why would app developers prefer iPhone if more people are buying Android?
Here are a few reasons:
- It’s easier to develop apps for iPhone, because you only need to deal with one operating system. On Android, countless variants require testing, and just because an app works on one Android doesn’t mean it’ll work on another.
- iPhone owners are more likely to pay for apps than Android users.
- iPhone owners have more money, so it’s more expensive to display ads to them, which means a bigger cut for the developer.
- If you build something for the iPhone, it also runs on the iPad.