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Gigaom is reporting that App developers are slightly shifting to Android away from Apple's iOS mainly due to Google's OS versatility... but the fact that Android tablets are beginning to roll out as well as the upcoming launch of Google TV - is also generating buzz amongst the App development community. This... all combined with the increasing momentum of Android on smartphones - appears to be heating things up in the application development community.
The competition between Apple and Google is only getting more intense as the two companies battle for supremacy in not only the smartphone business, but also the emerging tablet and connected TV space.
However, in my opinion, the fact that Android is Open Source software takes it one step further into user and developer empowerment since the OS is free and open from Source Code and SDK. While Apple has chosen to strap down its OS and hardware in order to control every aspect of the user experience. This could be the key differentiator in the emerging space.
With Android, every device owner has the full freedom to customize and tweak the software which they own - and each carrier or vendor can issue whatever software they want on the consumer electronic devices they build. For the developer the book is wide open. This may not be so important for Gen X and Baby Boomers but the Millennials thrive on choice over absolutism. (PDF)
On Generation Y, Gary Rudman of GTR Consulting, who has spent his career studying teen and young-adult markets and whose clients include Coca-Cola, Nike, Microsoft Xbox and Yahoo! says:
"The trend is that there isn't a trend. This generation is all about choice -- being able to find something and make it your own."
Open Source allows for that trend much better than semi-proprietary offferings.
Quoting numbers from Appcelerator and IDC, Gigaom says developers are getting closer to switching their allegiance and throwing more support behind Google’s operating system.
In its latest survey of 2,363 developers in mid-September, Appcelerator, which enables developers to write for multiple platforms, found that the percentage of developers who felt Android had the best long-term outlook grew to 59 percent from 54 percent in June while iOS fell to 35 percent from 40 percent during the same period.
The results appears tied to other data that found 72 percent of developers said Android, “is best positioned to power a large number and variety of connected devices in the future,” compared to 25 percent for iOS. According to the survey, 56 percent of developers also said Android has the most capabilities compared to 36 percent for iOS. And the hard numbers show that Android smartphone sales eclipsed iPhone sales in the second quarter.
As Android tablets and Google TV apps become viable opportunities, the OS seems to be turning the heads of developers who can dream of writing for three non-PC screens using one operating system.
However, the report also noted in a comparison between Android and iOS, developers gave the overwhelming edge to iOS for best app store, best revenue opportunity, most apps, least fragmented hardware and best hardware. Developers also said Apple (75 percent) had clearly the better near-term outlook compared to Android (20 percent). More from Ryan Kim at Gigaom:
Android also still has its shares of headaches for developers, like a mediocre app store and device fragmentation. Interest in the platform really is about chasing the future numbers, not necessarily a torrid love affair with Android. People see a wider future for Android, with more openness and more flexibility.
Apple, however, could possibly protect its lead if it formally announced app development on Apple TV. Developers still favor the iOS platform so throwing them another way to monetize their apps and get into the living room could forestall any shift to Android.