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InfoQ Homepage News Mobile Survey Q1 2015: Platform Status, Swift Adoption and Revenue

Mobile Survey Q1 2015: Platform Status, Swift Adoption and Revenue

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The recently published survey, State of the Developer Nation Q1 2015, conducted by VisionMobile analyzes the key mobile developer trends including the status of mobile platforms, Swift and revenue.

Following are some of the key findings of the survey grouped by category and in some cases compared with results from a similar report conducted during Q3 2013 and another in 2012.

Platforms

iOS

  • iOS leads in the premium segment of the market
  • iOS has 54% developer mindshare (66% in 2012 and 57% in Q3 2013)
  • iOS is the primary platform for 37% of the full-time professional developers (28% Intentshare in 2012 and 32.7% in Q3 2013)
  • iOS has a greater developer mindshare in US and EU (58%) where it is the main platform for 42% of the developers

Android

  • Android leads in all other sectors of the market to the point where “everyone and their dog owns a [Android] smartphone”
  • Android has grabbed 70% of the developer mindshare (76% in 2012 and 71% in Q3 2013)
  • Android is the primary platform for 40% of the professional developers (25% Intenshare in 2012 and 34.4% in Q3 2013)
  • Outside US and EU, Android has a 74% mindshare and is the main platform for 48% of the developers

Windows Phone

Windows Phone has a greater developer mindshare with 30% compared to 21% in Q3 2013, but the research noticed a small market share of only 3%. The report mentions that “the top two banks in the US - Chase and Bank of America, have already lost patience and decided to remove their apps from the Microsoft platform” but the “big brand app gap enables indie developers to get greater visibility and make more revenue than on Android.” Windows Phone has grown little as the primary platform, up to 8% of the developers from 4.5% in 2013.

Swift

Objective C, the primary language for the iOS platform, currently has a 39% mindshare among developers. It is interesting that only 42% of the developers working mainly on iOS are primarily using Objective C. The rest are using hybrid or cross-platform solutions (56%) or Swift (2%).

Swift, Apple’s new language for iOS, has received a special chapter in this report due to its “unprecedented” adoption levels just a few months after being announced. 20% of all mobile developers are using Swift and 2% are using it as the primary language. 48% of Swift adopters are also using Objective C, but not as primary language, while 23% of them were not using Objective C. This is considered as “a good sign for Apple” because “it should lead to more truly native apps being created in the future”. The remaining 29% of these early adopters of Swift are developers already using Objective C as their primary programming language.

App Revenue

The survey has observed that “growth in direct revenues from the app stores is slowing” in spite of growing smartphone sales. And the numbers are pretty low:

  • 17% of developers do not make any money for their apps
  • 18% make less than $100/month
  • 17% make between $100 and $1,000/month – this category and the following include professional paid developers
  • 24% make $1k-$10k/month
  • 14% make $10k-100k/month
  • 5% make $100k-$500k/month
  • 5% make $500k+/month

On average, a developer works on 6 different projects in a year.

Comparing platforms, iOS leads when it comes to revenue followed by HTML5 and Android. On iOS, 61% make less than 5k/month, while on HTML5 the number is 71%, and Android 81%. While iOS developers earn more money than Android ones, their expenses with hardware and software are higher, making the differences smaller.

64% of the developers target the consumer market first and only 20% are seeing the enterprise as their main market. But when it comes to income, only 19% of the consumer developers make more than $10k/month compared to 43% of enterprise devs.

According to VisionMobile, this survey was carried out online and through one-to-one interviews from October 2014 to January 2015, reaching over 8,000 developers from 143 countries.

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