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Why do developers prefer iOS over Android?

iOS vs Android adoptionThere are a lot of things that make Apple’s iOS a more attractive platform for development than Android. Better development tools, an installed user base that is more inclined to spend money on apps and the most popular App Store in the world, recently surpassing some 25B downloads total.

But if there is one major plus to working within the Apple ecosystem, it’s the fact that its users adopt new versions of its operating system far more quickly.

Self-styled ‘hobbyist’ data analyst Chris Sauve has a great post up on his blog PXLDOT that illustrates this point well. He recently ran the numbers on Android platform fragmentation and wanted to continue the discussion with some stats about iOS. The findings are dramatic and do a lot to explain the frustration that developers have with Android.

Sauve has parsed a lot of interesting data, over 50 different points from developers who publish their iOS version adoption stats like Marco Arment of Instapaper andDavid Lieb of Bump. He also dips into various statistics-gathering sites like Flurryand Apprupt. The numbers do have some room for error as the sources are varied and Apple doesn’t make these statistics public themselves, but they’re likely representative of the market and match up with Google’s publicly available stats.

One of the most descriptive charts is this one, which dramatically demonstrates just how fast iOS adoption rates are when compared to Android. Look at the vertical shape of the iOS 5.x curve when compared to Gingerbread, Android’s latest version besides the brand new Ice Cream Sandwich, which doesn’t even register on this scale.

Sauve on just how incredibly fast iOS gets picked up when compared to Android:

iOS 5 captured approximately 75% of all iOS users in the same amount of time it took Gingerbread to get 4% of all Android users. Even more astounding is that 15 weeks after launch iOS 4 was at 70% and iOS 5 was at 60% while Ice Cream Sandwich got to just 1% share at the same age.

Another great point that Sauve makes about the data relates to the argument that the larger number of Android devices will eventually make for a more attractive target for developers, something that Google’s Eric Schmidt has touted as a plus of the ecosystem. Unfortunately, only a fraction of Android devices are on the latest version of the OS, which makes it difficult for developers, especially those with limited resources, to create versions of their apps that work appropriately across all devices.

It also makes it difficult for them to adopt the coolest new features of Android very quickly, as they must make sure that their apps work on the most common version of Android, even if it is far older and not as well equipped.

By contrast, iOS developers can make sure that their apps are optimized for a larger segment of Apple devices, effectively nullifying the advantage of Android’s larger install base. This gives developers the ability to be more confident in adopting features that are only available in newer versions of the OS without alienating a large segment of customers.

Read the full article on TheNextWeb

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