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Why Android First is a Myth (stevecheney.com)
57 points by goronbjorn on Oct 21, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 33 comments

Let's take a look at some of the recent headlines on this blog:

* Why Android First is a Myth

* How Apple iBeacon Will Transform Local Commerce

* On Apple’s Vertical Silicon Strategy

* On the Apple M7 Motion Processor

* On Apple’s A7 Processor

* 1980: Steve Jobs on Hardware Software Convergence

* On The Future of iOS and Android

* Why a Standalone Google Maps App Has Already Lost

I think we can pretty safely say that this author is living in an iOS-centric fantasyland (I'd have included blurbs from each post to make this point even more apparent, but I didn't want this comment to get too long).

This is purely ad hominem and doesn't actually refute any of the author's arguments.

Ad hominem isn't always bad, and can be a simple efficiency mechanism: We all have limited time in our lives to evaluate and absorb information. Simply having an open platform where everyone presents themselves as an expert and we are culpable of validating every statement and reference isn't reasonable. Similarly, when someone has a strong bias and then makes statements that the bias makes suspect, I want to know up front.

We're Android first. Exclusive actually. Barrier to entry is almost zero and none of the time-wasting finger-crossing hurdles you describe. We're self-sustaining with a top ten paid app and about to release another exclusive that can only be possible due to Android's open nature.

Clarification - your app can only be possible on Android because it's a widget app which Apple doesn't allow. So it makes sense you're Android only. Some paid apps like yours do well on Android (congrats) but I am really referencing bigger products / services.

Our next app has that potential. We are thinking multi-platform, but it's very limited on iOS so not sure how well it will go.

I'm an HD Widgets user and all, but AFAICT, you guys are in 15th place right now.

We go up and down. We were at 10 a week ago. We've also been distracted with the new app.

App ranking is hard to keep up with.

... actually, I am defending your point that you were 10 last week, 15 this week.

Got that. Was just plugging our app =)

We are Android only Shop (After wasting revenue's from Android apps on iOS and Windows).

This is what I suggest people who ask for Advise:

* If you want to raise money, Build an iPhone app.

* If you want to run a profitable business from early on, Build Android App.

Curiously there was an email thread in Silicon Valley iPhone group (http://www.meetup.com/sviphone/) a year back where someone asked if there are any developers who live on the money from the apps without any contracting work. Surprising the only people who said yes are Android developers.

> If you want to run a profitable business from early on, Build Android App.

AFAIK, the only way to develop iOS is to buy a Mac, which would put me out however much money. Then I have to pay a yearly fee to get on the App Store. Then I have to learn Objective C, a language which only Apple uses for all practical purposes. Then I submit the app and see if they accept it or not.

With Android I can code, compile and deploy on any platform. Google Play is a $25 lifetime free, the $25 mostly to prevent fraud. I can program in Java, a language taught to virtually every CS student and which can be used in a variety of circumstances. No approval for new or updated apps, it just goes onto Play.

If you're sweating the cost of buying a Mac and the annual $100 developer fee, are you really planning to run a profitable business? Those costs should be the least of your concerns.

Objective C is not the only language you can write iOS apps in these days.

If you live in an iOS world, you'd think all startups or apps have gone iOS first.

As an Android user, I have been witness to a number of startups who went Android first and found success.

Why? Because they ignored advice like this post. While most developers focus only on iOS, some developers filled the void on Android by building apps Android users want.

I can't be the only one who was on Android and was hoping for some iOS devs to make their nice apps on Android. While a lot of users on Android are very cheapass and won't buy anything, there's also a big amount of people who won't mind paying for an app, but don't want to pay the absurd prices an iPhone costs.

I since moved to Windows Phone, which although smaller amount of apps, they generally seemed to suck less than the default quality on android. Most apps are following OS style, which make the phone seem nicer (same trick as iOS).

I don't think it's that android users won't buy anything,I think they just think about purchases more carefully as they're not used to being to pay for everything. Something must have real value to deserve real money.

That's' quite an interesting point of view.

Seems to be well supported by the fact that there are significantly fewer good and free apps on AppStore than PlayStore.

Maybe startups are more afraid of adding ads onto their beautiful app prototype when they are used to the iOS culture of always paying for apps and not thinking of ads, whereas Android users maybe in a higher degree accept ads on their app.

> I have been witness to a number of startups who went Android first and found success.

Can you cite some examples?

On top of my head:

Any.Do Life360 AllTheCooks

They subsequently released an iOS app & they are doing really well on the App Store.

I know of a bunch of Twitter clients (i.e. Falcon, Plume) built by indie devs that earned a tidy sum of money.

There are also a number of apps that are only possible on Android (widgets, homescreens, etc) and have generated a good sum of money for the creators.

...building and releasing on Android costs 2-3x more than iOS. This is due to a multitude of reasons: less sophisticated tools, generally more cumbersome APIs, fewer exposed advanced features, enormous QA issues brought on by fragmentation...

I've developed on both platforms and only one of these reasons rings true to me -- the QA headaches of testing on many devices. IMO Android tooling is superior, the APIs are pretty much a wash and there are more advanced features exposed on Android (though not in every area). On Android you also: don't have to worry about retain cycles (and don't get me started about pre-ARC days); have access to the source code and bug tracker (a huge time saver in some situations); don't have to deal with provisioning profiles for development and beta testing.

I'll say it every time this comes up: you develop iOS first because all of your investors have iPhones. When they all have Androids, you'll develop for that first.

yep. the guy funding the project has an android, so we're doing that first.

edit: also, i think this is one of those questions where the answer really depends on the circumstances. the investor's preference is a pretty important circumstance, but there are other things to consider: perhaps you have a web app in java. then it might sense to develop for android first if you could reuse a lot of code, particularly if you're using the spring framework.

I think this is very much a question of what market you are targeting. According to gs.statcounter.com Europe has 44.87% Android and 38.9% iOS market share, while US has 52.5% iOS and 39.6% Android. I think this definitely makes a difference in what is most profitable.

And saying that iOS has nicer tools is simply not true. Eclipse is arguably a lacking IDE, but Google has since switched to the IntelliJ IDEA platform, which I consider even better than the often highly praised Visual Studio. It's code-completion reigns supreme.

I'm sure that most blanket strategy statements are false. It depends on what you're trying to do, or better yet, why you're trying to do it. Right? Each platform has it's strengths and weaknesses, and understanding how they align with your vision is a pretty handy skill.

We tried monetizing our app in the real world with only being on Android and people were saying that's nice and all, but you guys are not ready yet if you're not on iOS.

The benefits of faster iteration on Android are still strongly outweighed by the disadvantages of not being able to tap into the 3 times more engaged iPhone user base.

> In fact, a recent study of Facebook ads shows ads were 1,790% more profitable on iOS. This is extremely incriminating for Android and is the worst kind of news for Google.

I don't really know or care enough about the issue to have an opinion on the other points, but this one jumps out as kind of odd. Assuming the number is correct, is comparing Facebook ad revenue a meaningful proxy for overall viability of the platform as a money maker for, say, app developers?

The study suggests that people take actions on iOS and not on Android. Since most of FB's mobile ads are in fact mobile app installs, people are interacting and using the medium - 18x more on iOS than on Android.

It's just one ad related study but the magnitude of the difference is staggering.

(author of original blog post here).

Android encompasses all economic classes than iOS.

Of course, you cannot make money on the poor as much as on the rich.

Is there a study anywhere that given the same economic bracket (e.g. people who make $75K a year), that user will pay more because he/she is on iOS?

> the worst kind of news for Google

No, bad news for google's Android project would be that some important metric stopped growing. What it's at currently doesn't matter as much as the rate of change.

I believe so especially for free apps. If your app depends on ads it makes sense. For paid it also matters because it means users are more likely to pay (however that is done).

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