In other words, even if you believe iOS is ultimately going to be your primary platform, there's still a strong argument to do your initial prototyping and development on Android.
Firstly on iOS you can send as many IPAs as I want to friends, testers, colleagues etc provided I've gone through the 30s process of adding them to Apple's list. This isn't some giant inconvenience that warrants completely switching a platform.
Secondly if your app is intended to be cross platform. Then why would you start creating OS specific functionality you know will never work on the other platform. It's completely illogical.
iOS is likely to remain the primary platform for prototyping. Why ? Because it is just so much nicer. The iOS Simulator "just works" and exactly mirrors your target devices. Not the pathetic joke that comes with the Android SDK which has no relation to how your app will run on a Samsung versus HTC devices.
Android's OS integration also makes for better demos of our app. Since it's a remote control for another device it makes a lot of sense to have lock-screen and pull-down controls. We can't show that off on iOS.
Finally, the Android developers that I know simply don't use the simulator, they always use hardware. I found it strange coming from iOS, but I've gotten used to it. I weight this negative much lower than the deployment advantages that Android has for prototyping.
Of course in the end you'll have apps on both platforms, but here's a vote for doing early development on Android.
Mine has also prototyped on both platforms and I will personally strangle anyone who suggests we do that on Android again. Slowly and painfully.
Sending applications for testing is somewhat more difficult on iOS, but that's really the only gripe we had. Between the useless documentation and the horrible development environment, it consistently takes us about twice as long to get an initial demo up and running on Android. This is especially on UI-heavy applications, considering that Android still doesn't have a decent UI builder.
(Just to put things into perspective: iOS's has incremental/convenience features over the original NeXTStep GUI builder, which basically puts Android's in a pre-1992 state).
The initial costs were higher for the Apple hardware, too, but even in the short term (1-3 months), it was worth it. This is especially true for a small company, that should prefer being punctual and keeping short deadlines.
> Finally, the Android developers that I know simply don't use the simulator, they always use hardware.
I also used hardware when developing for Android. However, that was not because I'm an uberdeveloper who has some obscure skill, it's simply because it sucks. It's slow, the debugger borks every once in a while, the management interface is unusable and while the list of integration features is longer, when you start crossing out those that break every other build you're pretty much left with just starting and stopping the simulator.
The reason everyone tests on hardware is because the emulator is %@$#ing slow. i7 @ 4.2GHz, 12 GB of RAM... the emulator still takes MINUTES to start and runs unusably slow.
The iOS Simulator on the MBP work gave me (mid-2010) runs at basically native speed.
I do some development with Cordova. During development I either test on my Android phone or an iOS simulator. Those are the only realistic options.
There are x86 images available for the Android emulator, which will run as fast as your host machine will allow.
No. So remind me again what your point is ?
The Android emulator allows you to run applications that were compiled for ARM because it translates the ARM instructions to x86. This is really CPU intensive and can eat a lot of memory as well.
Technologies like Intel HAXM speed this up, which is how the x86 Android images manage to be so much faster than the regular ARM images.
XCode compiles your source code to match your computer, not your phone, when you run the simulator. With Eclipse and ADT you build for an actual device, and then emulates the device running your app. That's why there's a speed difference.
However, when building for connected devices - both XCode and Eclipse+ADT compiles and runs at the same speed IMO.
The problem with the XCode approach is that some implementations can't be simulated (I remember trying to play a video from YouTube, embedded) - and needs an actual device to work. This hasn't happend with the Android emulator for me, because it actually behaves like a device.
Agreed, the Android emulator sucks and I don't use it. One of its many flaws is that it doesn't support multicast, which is pretty much a requirement for doing device discovery in a remote control app.
I mean, they're tools developed for your job, learn to use them!
It would be like coding using a plain text editor.. you can do it, but it's not what you're supposed to do.
We probably broke some rules and while it's not for everyone, it worked for us. Jailbraking my phone was amazing simple and fast with tools like limera1n.
For me jailbreaking the phone just to be able to do development on it does not make sense. Why go through so much trouble, when clearly this hostility towards tinkering coming from Apple will likely get worse in the future.
You see, I believe in voting with your wallet (or time, or eyeballs, or whatever). If enough people complained to Apple that the current process sucks, then Apple might do something about it. But if the ones affected simply jailbreak their phones, taking the status-quo as a given and working around it, then Apple simply has no reason to change their policies.
We (developers) tend to have preferences and these preferences end up clouding our judgement. I love Android for example, but I hate it that I can't be a Google merchant on Google Play because of the country I live in. When something sucks, it sucks in spite of all the other things we love, and we really shouldn't let our preferences cloud our judgement.
WRONG. Contacting all 30 of your friends and WAITING for them to give you their device UUIDs and giving them long instructions on how to find it from iTunes if they don't know how? How is that easier than sending an APK to your friends which they can simply download and install? And you seem to just have glossed over how it's a waste of money to sign up for an iOS developer license to build an app that, you find out, nobody wants to use.
> why would you start creating OS specific functionality you know will never work on the other platform. It's completely illogical.
Uhhhhhh, what? What do you mean OS-specific functionality? GPS? File reading and writing? Motion sensors? Buttons and text fields? Are you kidding me? Both Android and iOS have those. Do you even own a smartphone?
If you mean iCloud, why is that a problem? Even if you're developing for iOS, you can use Google Drive. If my startup had something to do with cloud syncing, catering to platform-exclusive cloud services isn't illogical.
> iOS is likely to remain the primary platform for prototyping. Why ? Because it is just so much nicer.
I'm pretty sure a "prototype" doesn't have to be "nice."
> The iOS Simulator "just works" and exactly mirrors your target devices.
Again, WRONG. You're not supposed to rely on the simulator precisely because it DOESN'T exactly mirror your target devices. It doesn't have motion sensors, uses your computer's internet connection as its own, uses your computer's processing power as its own, doesn't give you the same retina iPhone experience, etc.
Gee, have you even tried developing mobile apps?
I know it's a pain in the ass to buy an entire Apple computer just to develop for iOS, but crikey, why are you so angry about it?
If you disagree that iOS is the more enjoyable platform to build for then contribute to the discussion. Otherwise you are the worthless one here.
2)It is clearly visible from your comments history that you are biased (and that's ok, everyone is allowed to have a preference, I am biased as well), but also refusing to consider any arguments that go against your views, ergo the trollish behaviour. I especially dislike the way you address your replies. Most of the things that don't make sense to you, have a perfectly reasonable explanation if you only would consider changing your point of view for a while.
3)mattquiros already refuted your arguments on why iOS is more enjoyable as a platform.
4)I already commented elsewhere that as a developer you have to know your tools. Not using the x86 emulator or genymotion puts you in the position of the masochistic developer that wants to prove that the platform is horrible AT THE COST OF MAKING HIS OWN LIFE MISERABLE.
You simulate application sizes :)
Ever developped for Android, because i doubt so.
Easier collecting feedback and faster "getting it out" iterations to improve your application.
Apple's provisioning process on the other hand is the most painful thing I ever experienced.
Your information is years out of date. In XCode, you click 'use this device for development' and all the provisioning is done fully automatically.
So no. It is not far easier to get your app running on the device itself. That is just false.
While software engineering is hard as a discipline, I don't feel it is the hardest part of building a startup.
How you *get your code running on a device" is even better. And it's trivial with Android. It's a royal pain in the butt with iOS.
The simulator in almost every situation matches the device. And I don't understand how connecting your phone to your Mac constitutes "a royal pain in the butt".
While suppressing disbelief that this is even something being argued, I present the instructions to run your newly built app package on your Android device:
1) Make sure your the appropriate security options to allow app installs are checked in the phone settings.
2) adb -d install <path to apk>
3) Enjoy the your own app on your hardware you own without asking permission from anybody else
For iOS, start by paying $99 to Apple to register in the dev program. Then go through this tutorial explained with the help of >20 screenshots:
I'm not saying it's better, in fact I think TestFlight may have many other useful features that this crude method doesn't offer (like tracking the UUIDs)
The dev distribution problem is thoroughly solved by testflightapp.com and I don't see anything else missing.
So, why aren't Android apps already of superior quality?
But aside from all that, this discussion is not really about quality per se. It is about figuring out your business idea, getting it right. Whether you then go and execute it well after that point is a different point.
But surely the same logic applies to this too. Why haven't we already seen all kinds of innovative business ideas emerging through the rapid iteration that Android supposedly enables?
iPhone caught on for the phone itself, its ability to browse the web and make calls. iPhone didn't even start out with apps. Even then, apps didn't come into play because customers demanded them.
*no = very insignificant
My options waere to either invest about $8000 to become a AB or open a LLC in UK while living in Sweden. After half a year of trying and failing I just gave up and stopped developing for iOS.
Now I just started developing for Firefox OS and hope for the best. My first app is even on the Marketplace already: https://marketplace.firefox.com/app/feedmonkey/
Did you happen to use Apple's DUNS lookup form? https://developer.apple.com/ios/enroll/dunsLookupForm.action
Yes, I used Apple's D-U-N-S lookup form. Here's a quick summary of what's happened so far:
The first time I submitted the request for a D-U-N-S number through Apple's form, I did not receive a call. After ten days, I called D&B to see what was going on, and they said they didn't have a record of the request. So somewhere between Apple and D-U-N-S, the request was lost.
I submitted the request again, and I got a call from D&B five days later. They sent the D-U-N-S number after the call, but their email indicated it wouldn't be usable for 14 days! I tried it on the Developer Center registration form anyway, but, like they said, it didn't work, so I waited.
At the end of the two weeks, the Developer Center was down for new enrollment--for another two weeks. Once it was functioning again, I submitted the enrollment request with the D-U-N-S number.
Twenty days later, I received an email from Apple telling me that my LLC's legal status wasn't listed on D&B's profile, so I'd need to work it out with them. Oh, and I'd need to restart the enrollment process.
After contacting D&B, I received conflicting emails from them, one telling me that "my request was complete" and one sent at exactly the same time telling me that the changes would be made within the next week and a half. I sent Apple an email detailing this and asking for the enrollment to be continued where it left off rather than going to the back of the queue--which was twenty days the last time--so we'll see if that goes anywhere. I've read some accounts of having a months-long ordeal ahead even from this point in the process.
I realize things are probably a bit worse at the moment because of the Developer Center problems, but that doesn't change the fact that this process is extremely off-putting and it sours me a bit to development on their platform.
If you think you may ever apply for a government grant or contract then you will need a DUNS. I applied through this page for a Canadian non-profit and got the number in less than a week (though I had to go through a web chat on a different D&B page to actually find a D&B employee who would give me the number since they never emailed it to me).
It's still a shitshow, and Apple should either work with D&B to develop a more streamlined process like what they have with the Government, or find a better provider.
1) Alternate Launcher with pretty much infinite flexibility on look and feel.
2) Swype like keyboard options. Typing anything on iOS now feels like I travelled back in time to horse-and-buggy era.
3) Tasker app. Enough said.
4) Google Now. Enough said.
5) This is not an app per se, but the "share with" option for pictures etc that simply let me chose any suitable app on the phone that lets me share that particular object using pretty much any means of sharing out there.
And this is not even counting all the hacker'y goodness of having a full root shell with an almost complete debian environment on my Nexus devices. No "jailbreak" required. Nexus devices are rootable by design.
If you call yourself a hacker (this is hacker news... right?) and have turned your nose up at Android so far, you're simply missing out on the future of portable devices. iOS is catered to non-technical consumers and its feature-set (both for users as well as for developers) is accordingly restricted. The future killer apps are being written for Android today and you're not aware of what a mobile device is (and should be) capable of today and by extension, tomorrow.
[Edit: 1, 2 and 3 in that list above are paid apps btw. Checkout out the install numbers for those three on the play-store. Android developers writing stuff for Android (and not just copying stale iOS material) are making plenty of money]
I would like to add to your list the ability to completely block phone calls and SMS messages from annoying numbers, with no traces left in the phone's logs. Or the ability to automate your phone settings, depending on time or location, like turning the data off at 11 p.m. for battery preservation or turning silent while you're at work.
I don't know if such apps are still banned on iTunes, but it's what made me switch from an iPhone 3GS to a Galaxy S.
You are aware that "Google Now" is available for iOS
That doesn't work on iOS. Probably due to limitations on background processes.. or perhaps because google doesn't feel like providing the full feature-set it on the rival platform... I don't know. But without the automated notifications for things I'm not even aware I should be searching for yet, the magic just doesn't work the same way.
Being a developer, I have solid reasons to prefer one over the other for my personal use but I know a large number of people prefer the other. If that makes me somehow "partisan", so be it.
Now, would you explain what you meant by a "task switcher"?
Or perhaps you could simply admit that you made that comment based on the name "Tasker" without having any idea what the heck it was. That would work too.
There is no way forward for (paid) Android apps that can make a living. You need to sell on iOS in order to make any sort of revenue.
So if your startup is built on a free app, then by all means use Android to test your idea. But if you want to make things and sell them for money, then putting up with the App Store model is more than worth the amount of money you can make compared to Android.
Yes, that is kind of sad. As someone who does pay for Android software, I imagine I'm in the minority. I've got extended family members who balk at the notion of paying even a dollar for software on Android.
OTOH, I'm curious how many paid apps on the iOS App store actually hit the break-even point.
> There is no way forward for (paid) Android apps that can make a living.
Why do you say this? I concede it may be true for games, but games are actually one of the hardest places to make a living. Make not-game apps and your expectation of payment and your likelihood of piracy plummet.
I've actually never personally met an indy iOS developer making their money on not-games, come to think of it.
I easily spend $15-30/mo on android apps. I go out of my way to buy ad-less versions but I do appreciate that I can try an app for a few days even with an ugly, unfit ad.
That's nice, but will it translate into sales? Probably not, given the horror stories of Android piracy that seem to come out every few weeks (particularly in the gaming market).
Of course, many startups profit in hype instead of dollars, so maybe that's irrelevant.
Android piracy isn't a horror story for users (unless they download a pirated app that's been injected with an address-book upload trojan, which is not unheard of). It IS a horror story for a startup trying to make money on Android, which is why it gets deserved traction in tech blogs and HN. And which is why the original article is flawed in the way the OP indicated.
Piracy? Meh, all those users are in developing countries and won't buy your app anyway!
IMO, when I download ETrade App on my smartphone, it is good to know that someone checked that it was submitted by someone who is from ETrade really. If the process is rigorous for E*Trade, so be it. But as an end user I'd prefer it to be that way instead of making it _my_ responsible to verify before installing the app.
From what I understand, absent a legal judgment Apple doesn't do much to police copycats, misleading names and the like.
Seriously. It's documented iOS has had malware: http://www.forbes.com/sites/adriankingsleyhughes/2012/07/06/...
Open vs closed & other religious wars aside, it's ridiculous to imply that both platforms carry the same risk to end users.
The play store scans every submitted the apps for malware (in the last versions it also scans applications NOT installed through the play store).
I don't want to be pedantic, it's just that I know more about this platform and I would like to be corrected if I say something wrong about platforms that I'm not familiar with.
Given the review process, the odds may be longer that a particular app is malware, but given the size of the store I think it is virtually certain there is still some undetected malware in it.
It's hard enough to peg a real user need and deliver on that need in a satisfying, sticky way. It's at the core of what a startup needs to do to cultivate that product development discipline as a team, and tools that make that harder are insult to injury.
As others have mentioned, though, none of these app startups are launching just for a smooth development experience. And Android just hasn't shown that users will reliably upgrade their OS, much less pay for apps like iOS users do. Until that changes, even if the better dev experience will accelerate a shift, it's sort of a chicken-and-egg problem on app quality.
You are assuming that there is demand for anything but free apps. I know that I personally would kill to pay for top-quality Android apps like I do on iOS, but I don't think I speak for the majority of Android users. Based on everything that I've seen, they just don't want to pay.
Which I think is what Will's betting on.
I've always thought Google's greatest achievement was to convince people that they are getting free services..
I spent $20 on this over the free options (like K9 email) or the free ad-supported MailDroid version, because it is a high quality app and it looks very, very nice. Especially on my new Nexus 7's full HD screen.
That said, I'm pretty sure I'm not part of the majority here. Just raising a hand saying that some people will pay serious money for good stuff. And they're not all on iOS.
One tricky thing is that even if your app is really nicely crafted, it might be hard for users to find it without lots of out-of-play-store promotion.
I dunno, I make web stuff. I just like watching you guys duke it out.
Whether that is enough to make it a 'better' platform depends on what your needs are.
If I were doing a mobile startup and needed fast feedback on devices, Android's fast turnaround sure would be interesting. Not the deciding factor, but definitely a check in the Android column.
So really, Android allows for this quick succession of testing features and iterating as quick as possible, with even to a few hours turnaround. Also, that it would cost a lot in development time to get something "just right" for the App Store for it to be accepted, whereas with Android you can keep on iterating and pushing changes without having to spent a huge amount of time making everything look perfect, and be absolute minimal in terms of bugs.
I love iOS development, and yes, I agree with most people on here about the revenue from iOS, the people paying for apps, Apple's process of helping keep out most malware etc. etc., but for the sake of a "lean" startup, spending extra weeks testing apps making sure it's completely bug free and "looking good enough" for iOS, as well as the wait for Apple to accept the application (and then for users to download the update, in the case of iOS 7, this has been solved), Android is a much better dev option for these changes.
Of course, when the team knows that the app is something that people care for, and they have a decent knowledge of what users want, what features they use, and the kind of value that the mobile app brings to them, then they can go ahead and make the best possible iOS app.
Saving time, money and quick iterations, learning from customers and getting quick data for problem validation, is much easier and faster on Android, than the process on iOS. Think Lean Startup.
I'm not your free beta testing service. If you want to test concepts, do proper market research.
May I ask, what's proper market research? Considering you can get so far with "proper market research", but it definitely doesn't tell the whole picture. People often don't know they have a problem until one is solved and a good way.
An iterative approach is fine, once the above basics have been done, but if you need to deploy code changes in an app every day or even every week, the product is probably not ready for V1 yet.
However, in the startup sense, it's not exactly beta testing, it's testing the market, so beta testing would be fine to test something you've built works, but by no means will show what people will think of the app/product.
This is highly misleading. The App Store review process does delay iteration, and heavily crash apps are rejected but there is no requirement to spend a huge amount of time making things look perfect or absolutely minimal in terms of bugs.
I really wish Apple would make their platform a little more available. Lowering the $100 yearly fee would be a good start...
I don't develop for iOS because I don't want to own a Mac. I (as a long-time Linux user) find OS X incredibly frustrating.
There's also absolutely no reason to force developers to use a particular brand of hardware or a particular operating system to develop for a particular phone.
Well, it costs money for Apple to support development on Windows and Linux platforms. Who's going to port Xcode and the simulator to run on those platforms? How many different types of Windows and Linux configurations are out there?
The cost of doing that pales in comparison to what they are making off of iOS. If they can afford to keep developing iTunes for Windows, they can afford to port their other software. For some reason, I don't think Apple will go out of business if they give it a shot.
> How many different types of Windows and Linux configurations are out there?
So target the most prevalent ones. I don't know about all of the various configurations on linux, but it's really not so bad with Windows - just target Windows 7 or higher, and you should be good. Nobody is saying it needs to look nice or even look like a native program; we just want something we can work with, even if it looks like dog shit.
It's worse than that, I'm afraid. You need the absolute latest of both.
My perfectly fine Macbook from 2008 should be more than adequate for developing iOS apps. It's a core2 duo with 2GB of RAM. I mean, these aren't exactly the days of Pentium 60 vs. XT 8088.
Yet the max OS I can upgrade to is Lion. And that's with going through Snow Leopard first. And who knows how much longer Xcode will work on Lion.
OS X is currently on Mountain Lion, going to Mavericks real soon now. I would not count on Xcode running on Lion for any real length of time now. After that, you're 100% screwed.
Contrast that to Windows XP, where I can still run the latest iTunes and sync the latest iPhone 5 with. Can't do that in Leopard, either.
I understand the complaint if mobile development is a hobby (then yes, iOS development gets expensive very quickly), but if it's how you make your living then it's literally a rounding error.
The business case for supporting older computers is very different for Microsoft (or for Linux) than it is for Apple.
If he wants to actually run Mountain Lion and develop for iOS (instead of complaining that he can't do it on his current machine), then $850 at the Apple Store will get him a refurbished MacBook Air (last year's model) that will be probably be much nicer to use (it will certainly be much lighter and have longer battery life). He could probably get a couple hundred bucks for his old one if it's in decent shape.
I have nothing personal against Android, but let's not just skim over the actual DEVELOPMENT process.
I'd be happy to give details if you don't know (or don't care to see) what I'm talking about. But based on the upvotes to my comment and very similar complaints in other comments to this article, many people agree with me.
The problem with developing for Android as a startup is that baseline reliability is incredibly resource intensive.
If you want your app to work on the most popular few devices, you will still have to spend a considerable amount of time and money testing the different configurations and fixing bugs that have nothing to do with your core functionality.
If you want broad support to address most of the market, you're going to be spending a huge amount of development time tweaking little details of your code. When you fix a bug for the Galaxy S4, it'll start crashing on the HTC One X, and the Galaxy Note will never look quite right.
Iteration is valuable, but iOS lets you build one product and iterate on it, to build for Android, you have to start by building 15.
BTW I had the same problem - what works on iPad 3 didn't work on iPhone 4 and I fixes something that didn't work on touch.
Then we made a simple single developer account ... personal. It took only a month.
I've been building an app for Android for 2 weeks now, and I still can't get the phone settings on an Android phone to use it for development. This may be MY problem because I'm a terrible developer, but it's still a problem.
New Android studio based on JetBrains' IntelliJ is so much better it makes me wonder how I would ever endure using Eclipse for anything.
Try it. It'll take you less than 5 minutes from download to having your hello world on device, in debugging mode. It'll be the single best thing you did all day.
Until Android on a whole proves to be more lucrative to monetize apps, many developers will continue building iOS first (imho).
You're just saying that not everyone will take the advice. Well, yeah. :)
However, it is premature at this stage to state that Android is the better platform for startups.
As for Android, Google doesn't care. The person with the Android phone is not their customer, they're the product. Google is in the business of delivering users to advertisers. They are just barely in the business of making devices, and that's really just to feed more users to their advertisers by making a product that's as good as the iPhone and also to hedge against a single Android phone manufacturer from owning too much of the total Android market.
and then for good measure you repeat the nonsensical statement that google doesn't care. of course they want users to love android and increase their audience.
Basically the author thinks that you can test the market if a particular idea / app is worth making by releasing on Android first. The problem is that the android users will most likely hate the UI and the bugs as it will probably be thrown together.
When releasing an app on iOS, you don't have to include ALL features, you can release an app that is well designed and functions well with limited functionality. Then add features as you need to.
That's what we did when we released our app. We released for iOS first and then for android, but we gradually added features as needed or wanted.
This is where your argument breaks down. It assumes that because you are on Android, you app is shoddy. That need not be the case. Android gets a bad rap for being "hard to develop for", but that's only the case if you try and hit the entire 2., 3. and 4.* userbase.
If you limit yourself to 4.*, the dev work is very comparable. It's just a lot of people are utterly convinced they need to put in 2-3x the work to pick up that 40% of the market.
You sure do have to include a lot of features though. You've no chance if your app is a simple one because you'll get hit with one of these:
2.12: Apps that are not very useful, are simply web sites bundled as apps, or do not provide any lasting entertainment value may be rejected
In every product, there core features, then there are minor / convenience features. Let's say you have a "search" feature. That is a core part of the app / product / service. Some features that you can probably put off are: "advanced search", "refinement search", or even "sorting results". All of these are convenient, but you may want to have the app in store without these features.
- You can iterate quickly on android. If you notice that people don't care for your app, you can stop at the splash screen I assume. Or stop when you've added enough features that and yet no one is downloading.
- When you release on android, it's almost instant. This means that you don't test it as well as you should because you know you can always patch it tomorrow.
I've been using Android since Google put out the Nexus One, and I still prefer it for a phone. But for a tablet I have to unwillingly go with an iPad next time, because that's where the good stuff is.
(Yes, the thread was started in 2010, but scroll to the bottom to see more recent comments -- things have scarcely gotten any better.)
Anyone who has actually deployed a non-trivial app on both Android and iOS knows quite well which one is the "better" development environment.
We have mainly been doing iOS apps but we are hearing demand from customers about having an option in Android so one of our developers (who is definitely much more of an Apple fan) has been experimenting with the Android SDK and he has been very impressed with the Android SDK. He has found many things to be far easier in the Android SDK than with iOS. His main complaint is with the emulator which is extremely frustrating to use but since it's dead easy to use your device that's not as big of a deal.
Also, my theory is that once there are enough quality apps on Android, we will start to see the center of popularity shift to Android from iOS.
If you want to make money by directly selling something, or need people who constantly use your app => iOS still seems to have higher engagement and higher revenue.
If you want to make money by having a thing you're giving away to tons of people who need to only use your app briefly, android MIGHT be the case for tomorrow and for certain communities, today.
That said, "Android" isn't a monolith. I think Google did a tremendously good thing by incorporating so many new services into the Play Store rather than into the almost-never-updated core OS, and you should be looking at targeting THAT, not years old versions of Android, to get an updated, easy to maintain android target you do aside an iOS target. People will complain, but will also get new phones that have the Google play store with modern services.
With both versions, it's always really important to measure cost per user on a version by version, platform by platform basis.
While we have had our share of frusturation with the apple app store process (weird rejections that had to be explained etc), I don't see Android as an alternative to iOS appstore for startups. Once the iOS app is up running, we develop the android (and since we believe android users are used to seeing incomplete apps), we take our time adding functions to the app as well! (Yes I know, it is a cynical view, but we simply match expectation)
- Hockey App For Pre Public Distribution - Auto Updates, One Click Link Install (no need to join a google group)
- Enterprise account - no device ids, send the link to anyone
The dev cycle on mobile is slower, and more waterfall, but there is no excuse to not be iterating on anything more than 3-5 day cycles on either android or IOS.
This means that the possibility to make 6-7 figures on Android apps is there, if your app is compelling enough. The problem isn't getting users to pay, but making an app compelling enough that users want to pay for it.
Because some niches are really poorly covered on Android, apps that fill those may have greater success than they would on iOS.
Software-savvy giants like Apple, Microsoft, Google and Amazon pretty much don't care about stomping on your little niche (esp. if it's due to a deficiency in the platform/system) if it helps them one-up their competitor.
No way to in-app upgrade to remove ads. what?? (you have to buy a separate app).
Heaps of games / apps that dont even provide an option to remove the ads.
I feel like a lot of android developers are going to miss out on people moving from iOS to android now that the OS has matured and has improved a lot of the areas that iOS users were worried about. These are people willing to whip out the card and pay because they're accustomed to it on iOS.
If there is no way for me to remove ads from an app I am more likely to uninstall it then use it with ads.
I'm not arguing against this post, it's true in the sense that it is indisputably easier to iterate on Android vs iOS because of the lack of a review system. But as someone with both Android and iOS devices that they enjoy, it's very easy to see which one is a more user-friendly approach.
Having a broken app or two for a week is a small price to pay for trust. I don't trust the Play Store, I check out each individual app before downloading. On iOS because of the more robust review & permissions model, I can trust that while what I download might not be good, it will in all likelihood be safe.
In addition, I feel like evangelizing to developers like this is pointless. Besides the minority of personal developers driven primarily by morals, their preferred platform or preferred tools, developers go where the users are and the money is. If "Android is for startups" then that should be the case, and a blog post isn't going to make it so. The presence of startups iterating on Android initially makes it so, and that is driven by users + money.
Fred Wilson would beg to differ (at least until a few weeks ago, and even then, his reasons for switching are not what you might think).
Seriously, no (good) VC is going to decline to invest just because you're Android-first instead of iOS-first, if that's a decision that actually makes sense for your target market.
it's really that simple.
This is tough for people to resolve to do, but in the US that's 60% of the market. I'd rather ship a good product to 60% of the people in a reasonable amount of time, rather than spending a ton of time working on tiny slices of the last 40% and limiting what the product can do overall.
You also end up targeting much newer devices and OS versions, which evades a lot of problems with piracy.
I still support & test pre-4.0, but I'm starting to consider options for spending less time on Gingerbread support. Progressive enhancement helps (we just don't do a lot of things on Gingerbread at all), but it still clutters up the code. Even a few months ago I couldn't imagine dropping Gingerbread support, but I have seen almost no growth in Gingerbread users over the last 3-6 months.
At that point, though, the idea that Android is a larger market really starts suffering. That cuts out a third of Android users immediately.
and this encompassed screen sizes and OS versions.
Cue the Samsung Galaxy Gear.
They set up the barriers the moment you want to register a company. Presumably so that you can't pretend to be representing someone else's company.
.. not yet for music apps. Even Google folks admit that . This really can't wait any longer. Where is Garage Band for Android please? ... and to those saying "you can't complain only about music, look at the games, todo lists, blah blah", sorry music IS my domain and that's the only thing I care about.
In the early 1990s, many developers were using an OS called Unix, with esoteric tools like vi, make, sh, and emacs. They wrote software in ancient languages like C, C++, Python, and Objective-C. Their programs communicated over TCP/IP networks using sockets. If you were lucky enough to be working on a military contract, you would be exchanging documents using XML and HTML papa SGML.
Windows 3.1 was released in 1992, which was the real starting adoption point for the majority of the market.
By that time, the NeXT computer had already been out for four years, the Mac and X Windows were eight.
I was actually just pointing out that software development, as a discipline hasn't advanced that much since 1990. The number of KLOCs freely available to use within your code has increased dramatically. The documentation (which was on paper pre-WWW) has improved exponentially. The tools, OSes and languages? Pretty much a plateau there since the mid 80s peak.
They made me complete a questionnaire about exactly which kinds of Apple products I wanted to develop for, and "none" wasn't an option. That's kind of a weird, Apple-centric worldview. "Errrm, I'm doing web development..."
Fix it, wait days-weeks for approval, push the update
Fix it, wait 30 seconds, update pushed to everyone
If the bug is big enough, this can be the difference between losing all of your initial users and gaining critical mass.
Web apps do perform less optimally, but they are also platform independent and can be done quickly. Why not start there, make sure you are hitting the right user needs, then invest in app development?
Although i was using a single device for Android, i couldn't help but write a generic manager to handle different screens rather than hardcode my prototype to a single device. On the other hand, iOS screen and camera previews are hardcoded by design, and that saved me a lot of time.
Android being open source helped quite a bit, since i could borrow all that code from the stock camera app, but it was tedious to say the least. When i transitioned to iOS i was surprised how fast i got my basic camera app to work (few hours perhaps).
There are other reasons why i find iOS to be superior for prototyping (i have only touched on the camera preview issue). One other example is the relative documentation. iOS documentation gets you going much faster when working with the camera at least.
Just my 2 cents.
Isn't that exactly the reason for Apple's policies?
Despite the fact that iOS has much better design and comes with much better developer tools, Android is nowadays the better choice.
As a user, that sounds pretty good to me...
Instead of telling me what to do based on a small dataset of evidence, I'd much rather read what you have done. What worked for you. I don't think the author knows what he is talking about.
What the hell the Android means? The users? Or the cartel?
Android users are never starving for beautiful apps. The Android cartel does. Android users always starving for free stuffs, not beautiful. What kind of idiot choose Android for beautiful apps instead of iOS which is already-existing and also proven? Android has no beautiful apps because the users don't want it.
Market share? Market share itself doesn't make money. Especially blind market is purely useless. This article is just a mutated clone of crappy meme: "Say market share, and never say how the market share will make money.". Even Google and telecoms are making more money on iOS.
Android is pretty attractive toy for a developer. But for business? No kidding.
The contention in the linked article is that by pushing your "startup" app (which they imply to be a high quality app in a novel category) into the Android ecosystem first you can take advantage of the generally poorer app quality to get a "bigger piece of the pie". (This is the same argument that was made for years about Mac game development, btw.)
I'm not quite sure I buy all of that, but arguing against is has to be a lot more subtle than asserting that Android users "don't pay for apps".
If Google had sent that much to developers they'd be saying something. 90% of the data points we see are of the form:
My app made X on Android and 5-10X on iOS
The reason those "data points" are skewed is psychology. No one is inspired to write a vitriolic blog post whining that their Android app only makes 73% as much as the iOS version. Nor is the iOS-centric HN echo chamber well equipped to give you a random sample of these things. And, frankly, lots of those bigger numbers are simply old. Android's market share is growing rapidly. Three years ago, I think 10x was probably correct.
> Nor is the iOS-centric HN echo chamber...
Read the comments here. The significant majority are pro-Android. The whole 'plucky little Android' schtick is extremely tiresome and frankly devalues your point. The "psychology" that you cite is basically confirmation bias, so beautifully illustrated by your comment.
Whilst Android is making gains is some markets, so Apple is in others. Apple is up before a hardware update in the UK, France and US, taking share away from Android.
And 2.3 was 2.6 in January so for a really bad back of the envelope calculation we can guess 2.3 will be 1.0 sometime before 2017.
I think there are lots of advantages and good reasons to target both, but as long as the majority of the revenue comes from iOS, it makes sense to target iOS first.
Also, lots can happen between now and 2017. 4 years ago nokia and blackberry were still competing. iOS or Android could in theory be small players in 4 years. (Note that I don't think that will be the case, but it's possible.)
Of the data points that in your circle you see, you mean? I've seen anecdotes recently of publishers making much more on the Android market. That's the thing about anecdotes.
The most recent stats are that they are closing very fast.
But it is incredibly variable. How are they marketed? Do they pander to the demographics? Do they take advantage of the platforms? Are they crowded segments on each platform? How does it compare to the incumbents in those segments? Etc. It is impossible to separate all of those, which is why such comparisons are usually bunk.
On a personal level, I'm currently witnessing the phenomenon. We're at the moment creating a mobile app for an organization. When development of the Android version ended, people at the organization chose to shun it and decided to rather wait to test the iOS version, thinking that delivery was just around the corner. It's been 3 months now.
iOS might make you more money right now if you're lucky enough to chance on an app which matches what users already want, but even that ship may soon be sailing.
Suppose iOS apps pay two times as much on average right now. Tell me: what is two times one-tenth of what you should be earning? You're hobbling yourself by MUCH MORE building an app that inadequately addresses your user's needs.
There are more apps on the play store than the iOS store, and apks have always been easy to work with and had this same advantage.
If this advantage has always been present, why aren't the apps already better than iOS apps?
And it seems to be a compelling package - pretty much every app beta I care about has switched to it (even those that already had an existing off-Play-Store setup).
Many businesses started on iOS first, producing an Android version as an afterthought by contractors. Others produced a minimum viable product which made them money, so they felt no need to iterate. This means upstart competitors can easily take away the market share of established products. It's a good thing for startups.
Most successful startups began with a niche. Look at AirBNB's cheap conference attendees or Microsoft's Altair owners.
What is it that causes people to indulge in such hyperbole on this point? It's such an utterly ridiculous statement (obviously, people do buy things on the Play Store, there are plenty of paid apps with tens of thousands of purchases), yet it gets trotted out time and time again as an absolute as if it is an obvious accepted fact. How about a tiny bit of moderation:
"People pay for things less often on the Play Store"
You will sound a lot less like a troll.
Customers don't give a crap about how easy it is to [write|deploy|test|debug], but if you add a lot of friction to the iterative process, you take away a lot of the advantage a small startup might have over an established business operating in the same space.
Established businesses actually have a lot of efficiencies when it comes to maintaining the status quo and slowly evolving change, and the Apple AppStore model adds enough friction such that status quo and slowly evolving change are much more of the terrain than not.
Keep in mind the innovator's dilemma, and think about how startups exploit it. You want to pick some area where the established businesses aren't competitive, which has narrow margins, larger scale, faster development cycles... and then when you've got a lean and mean product, you go after the established territory.
Users do care how easy it is to develop, they care by proxy when they choose the earlier to market, better designed or most inovative one.
Whatever the story of Android has been in the passed, things are rapidly changing, and it's better to be there first, instead of coming in later to an established competition.
Bottom line is that I'm beginning to think that a mobile-only company strategy is likely to be doomed. Anyone thinks otherwise?
Is this based on your opinion, or what?
People on iOS are more willing to buy apps and do more in-app purchases but the gap doesn't seem that wide to bridge, especially as iOS users move to Android.
Google Play gift cards exist too, I don't know if you can buy music with it though, if not it's logic that iTunes cards sells better.
I've been using Android since I got rid of the iPhone 3G (circa Nexus One), and this thread is the _first_ time I've heard of it being available.
In general I agree but if those things have a material effect on how good the app is (e.g. "focused" functionality) then I think the customers would "give a crap".
Tests about different directions to take, or anything, really, are much simpler with a faster turnaround.
Your [potential] users & their value should drive the platform decision.
Two years ago the Play store yielded 1/10th the revenue of the App Store, by common metrics. One year ago it was 1/4. The most recent stat is 1/2 -- still months old. Do you see where this is going?
The #1 source of revenue for many games and other media on the App Store is via gifted iTunes cards. This is a mechanism that is only now finding its way to Android.
Yes, the Play Store revenue may be gaining on iTunes revenue. -- but per-app revenue in The Play Store has not necessarily grown. Revenue growth indicates nothing without the number of apps on each platform. Since the Play Store has more apps than iTunes, we cannot reliably correlate an increasing revenue (and a decreasing revenue differential) with increasing per-app revenue.
In fact, per-developer revenue represents more useful data than per-app revenue. Since the developer (firm or individual) pays the cost of residing on the platform, he also recoups the revenue. He can decide to reinvest revenue in more apps. Therefore we should not exclude developers with multiple apps from our model. So we use per-developer revenue instead of per-app revenue.
What is the per-developer revenue of The Play Store and iTunes?
Developers are motivated by per-DEVELOPER revenue...
not per-APP STORE revenue.
It's just crass selfishness... but there it is.
Are you being sarcastic?
The overwhelming majority of apps on both platforms are free. Among what I could charitably call "pay-worthy" apps, my personal impression is that there are probably a magnitude more on the iOS platform. Indeed, this submission seems to talk to that, pointing out that there is more of an opening for quality apps on Android.
I've never respected any number of apps metric because they are overwhelmingly chaff.
I know there are a lot of arguments AGAINST the play store, but this is quite real and imo quite valid.
It is also a bit comical that iTunes Connect is down today.
Sure: I see that, if I'm releasing an app this year, I should target iOS first because Android is a distant second.
(And can I say that I continue to hate the "puck" quote and, while it was a mildly clever over-generalization when Jobs used it, nowadays it seems mostly to be used as a kind of pompous way to say nothing useful whatsoever. Which is to say: In a few years everyone's going to be freakin' tired of that quote and so continuing whip it out is very "where the puck was.")
if I'm releasing an app this year, I should target iOS first because Android is a distant second
Personally I target both "first", because the tools and methods to do so are simple and effective. However if you are somehow making Absolutely Median Software, then sure. Reality tends to be dramatically more nuanced, and such a blanket statement is almost certainly naive nonsense.
I thought cross-platform development creates less quality apps.
Could you please share what tools and methods are you talking about?
Indeed, which is why I dislike the "puck" bromide, regardless of who popularized it.
It is not just a 50 USD card (or other similar values) that people buy and gift around? What this has to do with games?
I don't have any source for that, or even necessarily believe it (I don't disbelieve it either) ... I'm just pointing out what OP meant by that comment.
As a second effect, people don't think of things like iTunes cards as real money. Give someone $50 on an iTunes cards and, I suspect, it will see much less discretion than a $50 bill.
I was wondering about it...
Gift cards do not exist on my country, neither on my target markets, thus why I was kinda confused about it!