Developers: why you should build for Android tablets

Google Android 3.0 Apps

OK, maybe Steve Jobs’ reality distortion field is wearing off a bit and I might feel differently in a week when I get my iPad 2, but after playing with my Motorola Xoom a lot more tonight and seeing just what “no apps” looks like, I got something to say to developers:

You should build for Android. Before you build for iPad.

Here’s why.

1. The bar on Android for getting noticed is VERY VERY VERY LOW! I mean it’s so low that I feel that I could write an app and get noticed tonight. Even a crappy app. Even one that does nothing but make fart noises. While on iPad you better have an Angry Birds or Foursquare or Instagram killer just to have a prayer of getting Techcrunch to pay attention to you. Hint: your app isn’t yet as good as Angry Birds, Foursquare, or Instagram, so stay away from Apple.

2. Yobongo is learning tonight the hard way that crowds = death if you aren’t ready. Yobongo released today on iPhones to a decent helping of hype. Yet the reactions I’ve seen from people on Twitter aren’t very happy. Why not? Because it wasn’t perfect. It only released in three cities and the community hasn’t had a chance yet to figure it out. If it were released on Android first, there are far fewer users, but they could have slowly onboarded people (most of whom would be tech industry insiders, since that’s pretty much the only people who have Android tablets so far) and they could have worked out the kinks, then released a few months later on iOS.

3. It’s tougher to monetize on Android, which forces a scrappier corporate culture. There aren’t 200 million credit card accounts sitting there, so you gotta be smarter, scrapier, and more inventive to get revenues in. This helps you build a better company. Plus, when you REALLY need to show revenues, like right before you raise your series B, you turn on the iPad apps then. Investors are happy. You’re happy. You gassed up at the right time!

Fossil's concept watches

4. You can build stuff that you can’t on Apple. Like Fossil, who will ship new “connected watches,” pictured above (they work with Android phones), this year. Those aren’t possible on Apple’s system.

5. Android’s OS is tougher to build on. In my experience it’s buggier than iOS. Apps crash more, and have features that don’t work. Again, the bar is very low on Android. On iOS the bar is MUCH higher. Plus, if the Android Tablet world follows the phone one, there will be more fragmentation, so you’ve got to build testing and distribution systems that are gonna be more prepared for weird stuff than if you build for Apple. That’ll make you more agile eventually and you gotta bet that Apple will eventually be forced to change its app infrastructure quite a bit in the future to respond to competitive pressures.

6. You can help define Google’s marketing and maybe even win a spot on the Google jet. Google hasn’t yet figured out how it will sell its tablet OS. Apple has. So, if you create a killer app on Android, you’ll probably get invited in to work with the Google teams on future OS’s and you’ll probably get invited to demo on stage at Google IO. The chances of you creating the next Flipboard on iOS? Give me a break.

7. You have access to APIs and features Apple lacks, which will help you make an industry-defining app. Let’s say you want to compete with Flipboard or AngryBirds or one of those hot iPad apps? How would you do it? Well, PC World has a list of some of the things, like notifications and widgets, that Android has but iOS doesn’t. Use those and if you get on Oprah your app will look more finished than your Apple-only competition.

8. Building a “smooth” app on Android is harder. When I played with the iPad 2 yesterday I noticed something. Dragging and dropping felt smoother on the iPad than on my Motorola Xoom. That shouldn’t be if you just looked at the specs like Gizmodo did. More on that next weekend when I get my iPad 2 and am able to really compare it to my Xoom. But, there’s something here. If it’s harder to build a “smooth” app on the Android, that means you’ve gotta find some coding tricks that might help you make a freaking awesome iPad app later. After all, remember all those great Russian coders who came here after learning to code on crappier machines than existed in the West? Yeah, I do.

9. When you demo your app people will ask how you got an iPad 3. I’ve been showing around the Xoom and people notice it’s not an iPad, and are intrigued with it. That’s 70% of your marketing challenge right there. Getting them to pay attention to you so you can tell your story. Imagine you show up at SXSW in a week with an iPad. No one will pay attention. Show up with a Xoom and your app on it? Everyone will. Why? They want to believe that Scoble’s wrong and that there’s actually apps on that thing! ;-)

10. There’s a ready group of fandroids, as I learned yesterday. These people believe in the OS, Google, and the future of Android and will push you to every influencer or journalist out there. Yeah, with iOS you’ll get on Oprah if you build the next Flipboard, but, again, do you really have a shot at doing that? With 65,000 apps to compete with? No, not really. But you do have a real shot of getting every fandroid to wear your Tshirt and leave comments in every Techcrunch post or Scoble blog about tablets until they review you.

11. Fred Wilson and Fortune will think you are a genius!

12. You can iterate faster on Android. On iPad you need to wait four to ??? days for Apple to approve your app. On Android your apps get added to the marketplace much faster, usually in hours.

Since I’m gonna be an unabashed Apple fan for the forseeable future, I want Apple to have some real competition so that they feel like they will lose their empire at any moment. It’s GOOD for Apple fans to help ensure real competition exists. Otherwise we’ll never see any real advancements from Apple and we’ll never have any future choices about hardware or OS’s to try.

So, world’s developers, I’m calling on you to develop killer apps for Android and ignore all the idiots like me who are pointing out that there won’t be any users this year for your apps. That really won’t matter. Anyway, I expect Google has a strategy for getting apps and we’ll hear more about that soon.

So, smartass Scoble, why not build for Windows tablets? Or HP’s TouchPad? Or RIM’s Playbook?

After talking to a bunch of developers and others the past few days, including some Sand Hill Road VCs, it’s clear that Android is going to take the #2 spot pretty firmly. Why? Because Android phones already have plenty of apps, and that will position Android tablets in most people’s minds as the best alternative to the iPad. HP has distribution, yes, thanks to its position as #1 computer maker, so it’ll take #3 slot. I just don’t think it’s the strongest app platform to compete with iPad. RIM seems like it’s really struggling to figure out how to take the #4 slot and, anyway, it seems like it’s going with some sort of Android app compatibility strategy anyway.

So, since I want Apple to have strong competition, I’ll urge you to build Android apps.

Who’s in?

About Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, I travel the world with Rocky Barbanica looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology and report that here.

98 thoughts on “Developers: why you should build for Android tablets

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  2. Scoble,

    You still don’t get it. In the new, post-PC world, Apple is the new Microsoft and Android is just a Linux with a nicer UI on top of it.

    We all know how the previous Linux war ended.

    The fact that Android people just don’t like to spend money on apps is just another parallel.

    I guess you’ll also recommend that developers write Linux instead of Windows apps as well?

    Come on, get real.

  3. Why build “apps” for a hardware platform at all? You ought to be encouraging folks to develop for the browser, then hardware platform no longer matters. And the “app” can so easily scale from smartphone, to tablet, to netbook, to laptop, to desktop.

  4. Yeah, Whatever…

    You can keep ignoring the revolution to you own peril Robert…

    After finally speaking to you I get it. You are a just another cog

    Sorry, I thought you were an oracle…

    1. Hint: doing a serverless chat technology isn’t that interesting. What what I put up tonight. Robots that climb walls. Artificial muscles. Now THAT is revolutionary! Chat? Give me a break.

  5. Scoble actually thinks that Google gives a damn about app developers???

    Is this why they paid out less than $100mm to developers while Apple wrote $3 BILLION in checks so far to app developers?!

  6. Listen to Scoble and you’ll die poor or you’ll kill your startup.

    FACT is that Android users are not installing as many apps as iOS users. Even worse, Android user is much less likely to pay for anything. Android users are price conscious (that’s why they buy cheap Android devices in the first place) and they hate paying for anything.

    What’s even worse is that GOOGLE doesn’t give a crap about apps and they want people to develop and release apps for free, with adsense/admob ads, so they can make most of the money off of them.

    In short, SCOBLE’s just spewing nonsense (like he usually is) and this is just another paid spot by Google.

    Mike

  7. The main reason I support Android over iOS is Openness. The two platforms represent two very divergent philosophies.

    I think the openness we have in desktop OS’s is good for everybody. Developers need to be able to create whatever they want, whenever they want, for whatever price they want. Jeff Jarvis likes to say that one of the most remarkable things about the rise of Facebook is that they didn’t have to ask permission from anyone at any point. They just built it. You have to ask permission on iOS. Could Facebook have been built on iOS alone? I don’t know.

    I used to think that HTML5 was the solution, but I’m having my doubts more and more.
    I think native is the new HTML.

    Tablets are the future of computing and I don’t like the direction Apple is going.
    Developers, don’t give up your freedom for short term profits.

    Great apps are coming Robert. The Android dev community is vibrant and we will soon show you want we can do.

    1. >openness

      Really? What do you mean by openness? Free to install Android on my locked device? Nope, can’t do that.

      Free to install any app I want? Nope, can’t do that.

      Am I free to sell any app in the Marketplace? Maybe… but once someone makes a knockoff of it and puts malware into it, Google won’t lift a finger about it because they don’t give a damn.

        1. Really? How do I update Motorola Flipout?

          What app are you a developer off and have you made any money off of it?

          No Andorid developer I know of has made enough money off Android to make a living. And yet there’s hundreds of iOS developers who’ve quit their day jobs and there’s hundreds who’ve made millions.

          1. The Flipout is on AT&T. Read exception above. Its an AT&T thing not an Android thing.

            Since you ask. I’d be happy to promote my own apps. :)

            You can find all of them at:
            https://market.android.com/developer?pub=Nightshade+Labs
            (you can even install them straight from the website. Crazy right?!)

            But I don’t make most of my money on apps in the market. I do freelance Android work outside of the market and I’m about to quit my day job and do it full time.

            PS I think “hundreds have made millions on iOS” is hyperbole. Yes, several people have but not hundreds…

          2. Based on the $2B payout figure S. Jobs referenced the other day and 375,000 apps, that’s an average of $5333/app. But median is way less than $1000 for paid apps and continues to drop.

  8. Scoble,

    Good idea but has a big pitfalls based on our experience.

    We went down the same path that you describe for our local app for India, TaazzaGO. It has yielded mixed results. http://www.taazza.com/mobile

    Pros:
    - We have been recognized as a Top App for the Indian market – Thx to appbrain for their country pages. http://www.appbrain.com/apps/country-india/
    - Android is exploding in India with no of shipments growing at 300-400% every quarter
    - End users are thirsty for content given that they have capable phones
    - Buses in Bangalore have Android tablet like devices on every seat & this is expanding.

    Cons:
    - Android is still fragmented. We have to support phones from Android 1.6 to Android 2.3. In India there are other permutations on the device – they ship with low onboard memory & screen resolution can be lower than 320×480
    - While the opportunity to bundle the app with an OEM exists – OEMs are still coming from traditional VAS mindset where they control the market & still move very slowly. For instance an OEM wants a 4 month testing cycle before the device is shipped. We have done 6 releases in the last 10 weeks.

    Getting noticed in the US is probably a whole lot easier given that you dont have to sell the idea of an app economy. In the east this is still a challenge although its changing rapidly.

    Google can do a whole lot to foster this environment but havent seen much from them. In fact for all the take of not Apple’s wall garden – google just launched their web version of the app store which is why you will find the likes of AppBrain doing very well.

    My 2 cents from our experience. Hope it helps.

  9. “We are the only Rackspace employees who gets invited to major press events at Apple, Google, SalesForce, VMWare, Facebook, Box.net, Twitter, Microsoft, amongst others.”

    You can do as little as sign up for a Technical users group in SF Bay and get invited to most of these events. You can sign up to be a MS partner, which is extremely easy and get invited to the MS events.

    Box.net LOL?

    Are you proud of being on that guest list?

    “Am ambassadors to tech industry.”

    I think you like to see yourself that way. I don’t think most people see you that way. I think most people know that you have a good Google index of your blog pages, and have a lot of connections.I would say that’s more accurate.

  10. I don’t think you realize how little money there is for developers on Android.

    App stores by revenue:

    1) Apple (80% of the revenue)
    2) Nokia (the “platform is burning” Nokia)
    3) RIM (who are not even putting this particular API on PlayBook)
    4) Android

    And notice the first 3 spots are the 3 integrated device makers who represent 90% of the mobile handset industry’s profits (Apple 50%, Nokia 25%, RIM 15%). That speaks to whether Android’s fragmented quasi-platform approach is even practical for development.

    And then you also have to consider that Android development is more expensive: it costs more to build, test, maintain, and support an app on Android. It may cost more to write because you have to write in Java. On iOS, you can port existing C code (for example, from GarageBand for Mac) and write only 10% of the iOS app from scratch. There just isn’t a lot of client-side Java code out in the world to port to Android. A good example is VNC. There was much more demand for it on Android than iOS, but it showed up on iOS first because VNC is written in C and had to be laboriously rewritten in Java for Android.

    Android’s API is also not PC class like Apple’s. Even if you find the budget to rewrite something like GarageBand for Mac, it can’t necessarily be done on Android. It’s a phone class system, created by a little team in Google’s mobile division. OS X by comparison has thousands of Apple designers and engineers betting the whole company on it everyday. It was getting tuned for better battery life on PowerBook G4 Titanium, years before Android even existed. It has an audio subsystem that was developed for music studios. It’s a very, very different animal than Android.

    And where is Google’s commitment to anything other than Web apps? Nowhere I can see. What if your app is used by a malware vendor, as happened last week on Android Market? What if your app is counterfeited? Pirated? How much work is that, and what do you get for it?

    In the PC industry, people are used to comparing an HP and a Dell at how good they are at running Windows. That is like comparing 2 batches of chocolate chip cookies made from the same recipe. Very, very few variables. An iPad and a XOOM, on the other hand, are not even both cookies. You can pretend a XOOM is equivalent to an iPad by calling them both “tablets” but that doesn’t mean they are the same at all. Try this test: what 2 devices have multitouch, app stores, native C apps, 10 hour battery life, instant on, no viruses, a color management subsystem, a MIDI subsystem, an animation subsystem, and consumer usability? That is an iPad and a MacBook Pro.

    So the XOOM getting an iPad-like app ecosystem is not just about developers choosing to make apps for XOOM. You’re standing in Boise, Idaho pleading for a New York City skyline. There’s so much more to it than just putting out the call for developers.

    1. The report you are quoting is from 2008-2010.

      In 2011, Android handsets are the most sold.
      http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2011/01/android-beats-nokia-apple-rim-in-2010-but-firm-warns-about-2011.ars

      There is a lot of Java client code out there. Most if not all of the apps for mobiles that predate iPhone were written in Java. Porting those to objective C is the stuff that mobile company bankruptcies were made out of.

      http://www.startupgazette.com/2011/03/irvine-based-javaground-foreclosure-of-a-mobile-games-dream/

  11. It’s difficult to take this seriously, but there are some good points. It is far easier to iterate on Android, correct your mistakes and get noticed with a more engaged fanbase than iOS.

    The conventional wisdom in apps has so far been “iOS first, Android second — if at all.” So in light of this week’s Nielson report, it’s nice to see that someone is giving some reasons to do Android first, even if in a backhanded, tongue-in-cheek kind of way.

  12. I think the only legitimate reason is that you can build some stuff on Android that you can’t build on iOS. There have been some very compelling apps like Swype and NeuAer’s Toothtag that you can’t have on iOS, and developers need to exploit that freedom if they want to get anywhere with android. When I saw NeuAer’s product at the Launch conference, I was really amazed – it’s the first app that would make me want to get an android phone because it simply cannot be done (yet) iOS.

    That only applies to the special apps that CANNOT be on iOS because of a structural reason like Apple wouldn’t allow it. If you are building a regular app that could run on iOS just fine (as most developers are), there is NO reason to develop for android first. iOS has more users who are willing to download and experiment with apps, and more users who are actually willing to pay money for apps.

    How can you say that Android is better because the bar is low and it’s harder to monetize? That’s like telling someone to get a job at McDonald’s because the minimum wage will force you to be more frugal, and you’ll always get employee of the month because you’re competition is people who don’t give a shit.

    I agree with you on most stuff Robert, but a lot of these points feel a little too charitable to be serious.

  13. I think the only legitimate reason is that you can build some stuff on Android that you can’t build on iOS. There have been some very compelling apps like Swype and NeuAer’s Toothtag that you can’t have on iOS, and developers need to exploit that freedom if they want to get anywhere with android. When I saw NeuAer’s product at the Launch conference, I was really amazed – it’s the first app that would make me want to get an android phone because it simply cannot be done (yet) iOS.

    That only applies to the special apps that CANNOT be on iOS because of a structural reason like Apple wouldn’t allow it. If you are building a regular app that could run on iOS just fine (as most developers are), there is NO reason to develop for android first. iOS has more users who are willing to download and experiment with apps, and more users who are actually willing to pay money for apps.

    How can you say that Android is better because the bar is low and it’s harder to monetize? That’s like telling someone to get a job at McDonald’s because the minimum wage will force you to be more frugal, and you’ll always get employee of the month because you’re competition is people who don’t give a shit.

    I agree with you on most stuff Robert, but a lot of these points feel a little too charitable to be serious.

  14. I hate to say this publicly Robert, but I talked to your partner at Rackspace Robert Taylor at Scale 9x and asked him what you actually do at the company. I did so off camera to get his honest reaction and info.

    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4035/4427201403_da0affaf7b.jpg

    I swear to god, he called you a “freak blogger” they hired to evangelize the platform.
    He said that the only thing you do at Rackspace was attend trade shows and rack up air miles.

    I know this must be a hard thing to hear, but it’s true.

    Your latest posts are no better than MG Siegler on a day when he’s eaten too much sugar.

    Sorry Robert

    1. Interesting but not true.

      My team does three things for Rackspace:

      1. Am ambassadors to tech industry. Maybe you should see the hundreds of CEOs who visit with Rocky and me every year, a good percentage at my house. I also represent Rackspace on TV (Fox this week, BBC, French and German and Israeli TV this year) and on stage at industry conferences (Launch last week, SXSW next, Where, TEDx, Next Web, and Web 2 Expo next month). This directly brings Rackspace business, much more than my team costs.

      2. My team helps with PR. Rocky and I know nearly every tech journalist in the marketplace. We are the only Rackspace employees who gets invited to major press events at Apple, Google, SalesForce, VMWare, Facebook, Box.net, Twitter, Microsoft, amongst others.

      3. My team keeps Rackspace AND THE ENTIRE INDUSTRY up to date with what is happening on the bleeding edge. For instance today I met with a VP at VMWare about something coming next week. Tonight I am uploading a series of exclusive videos about what is going on at SRI International, Silicon Valley’s most important R&D lab. Next week Rocky and I are helping other companies as well.

      Explain to me how many times I have seen Robert Taylor this year. Go ahead. Zero.

      1. “We are the only Rackspace employees who gets invited to major press events at Apple, Google, SalesForce, VMWare, Facebook, Box.net, Twitter, Microsoft, amongst others.”

        You can do as little as sign up for a Technical users group in SF Bay and get invited to most of these events. You can sign up to be a MS partner, which is extremely easy and get invited to the MS events.

        Box.net LOL?

        Are you proud of being on that guest list?

        “Am ambassadors to tech industry.”

        I think you like to see yourself that way. I don’t think most people see you that way. I think most people know that you have a good Google index of your blog pages, and have a lot of connections.I would say that’s more accurate.

        1. That’s bullshit. Go ahead and get a private interview with Facebook by signing up for a user group. Go ahead. Or get invited to the iPad 2 launch by doing that. Go ahead.

          Box.net has five million customers. That makes you LOL? Thought so. That’s why you aren’t seen as credible enough to bring to these kinds of events.

          1. What does matter? You have no followers on Twitter. No followers on Quora. No followers on Facebook. If you are going to quote audience stats to me give me ones that matter. You rewrite press releases. Why the anger dude?

          2. “You have no followers on Twitter.”

            Combined our sites have over 20k followers on Twitter.

            “No followers on Quora”

            Wow, we have no followers on a Q&A website.
            Oh wait, Quora is the Q&A website you’re all promoting this year. Oh, now I see what the fuss is about.

            You not only kiss up to Peter Thiel, but you kiss up to the spinoff websites from his websites. Then you kiss up to Dave McClure just because he’s associated to him.

            Guess what? We’re not in Norcal, and Peter Thiel has NO EFFECT on us. I mean, while you’re at it, why not promote their investor friend, Yuri Milner like your friend Michael did.

            http://www.startupgazette.com/2011/01/re-yuri-milner-and-why-we-wont-talk-about-him-here/

            That should kill 2 birds with 1 stone and give you YCombinator and heinous mafia points all at the same time.

            “Why the anger dude?”

            You seem to be the one who’s angry. (see angry Scoble comment below)

            I’m just amusingly pointing out the cracks in the cement.

          3. I’ve never even met Peter Thiel and that just shows you one of the points that you’ve made that’s totally wrong. I looked at your Twitter account and you have 2,500 followers. Wow, lots of influence there dude. Klout score of 30 or so. Well, sure looks like you are super successful. I think I’ll go fight with someone who has real influence. See ya.

          4. The real traffic of any website comes from search on Google via back links and pure search index.

            Your search index is greater than ours, but like I said you had 11 years to build it up, while we had 3 months, a few hundreds dollars and a hand full of people, some of which struggle with English.

            Social media only counts for a small percentage of landing page sources for any major website or online publication.

            You also forget that we have a printed publication that is distributed at trade shows and via USPS mail. Not to mention other avenues of distribution not related to the internet.

          5. You have shown your cards. I wish you well in life. I didn’t get where I got by tearing other people down, though. I’d rather pick my way through life that way. See ya!

          6. http://klout.com/cdnpal

            Looks like you missed this one which retweets all the startupgazette.com posts and all of our many other websites, most of which are not published as being associated with our company.

            Oops, but that’s the kind of research you often times do. Not going to show up on 60 minutes any times soon.

    2. Actually, I remember being asked about what Scoble did at Rackspace and I in no way answered what you “swear to god” I did. I work with and respect Robert Scoble and what he does for Rackspace.

      1. rjamestaylor,

        I’m not surprised that you’re backing away from your comment. I can still vouch that you called him a freak blogger while shrugging your shoulders.

        I got the picture off of a Google image search simply because I didn’t take any pictures at the Rackspace kiosk.

        “Explain to me how many times I have seen Robert Taylor this year. Go ahead. Zero.”

        That’s odd because rjamestaylor said he works with you at Rackspace in the same conversation.

        rjamestaylor, I also remember you saying you got your RAX options at 5.06

        Like I said I can understand why you are backing away from it now on a public forum, but Robert Scoble shouldn’t have any credibility when it comes to talking about Android, and what you said about him lends to that.

        1. 3,000 people “work” with me at Rackspace. But most of those are down in Texas. I don’t work with Robert Taylor, he hasn’t been with me on an interview, or seen what I do on stage. I don’t know why you think he’s an authority on what I do for Rackspace, because he’s not. Just like I’m not an authority on what HE does for Rackspace (my boss doesn’t ask me for my review of him, for instance).

  15. I am ready! Line up the android tablet clients and keep them coming! I couldn’t agree more with the entire post. I have been screaming about Android for a while now. All of a sudden no one is laughing! :)

  16. I don’t know where people got this idea that it is a good financial investment to become an App developer of IOs. As in any other business the distribution of profits is strongly skewed towards the big players.

    In fact, this site calculated that the average Iphone developer makes a meager 600 dollars per year!
    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2010/06/full-analysis-of-iphone-economics-its-bad-news-and-then-it-gets-worse.html

    Thus, unless you really think you can pull off the next Angry birds it is a waste of money.

  17. Actually, the Android market is getting bigger and bigger. Developing for the Android platform will definitely open up a lot of doors in the mobile industry.

  18. Wow … this gives a new tune to the dance. You’ve got some serious reasons here.

    But here’s the deal. For developers, you’re saying they should develop for Android. But as a consumer, which one am I going to buy?

    You said it yourself man. iPad 2 kicks butt. No brainer. I’m not going to think twice about it.

    So the walk-away here is,

    develop Android

    buy iPad.

    1. I agree with you Organisemee there are actually some big benefits developing on Android.

      But there is one more item I would like to add: Apple are seeking perfection, and that quest has a price. Looking into the future Android development rate to produce a good enough product will provide better results.

  19. I hope this is tongue-in-cheek, because, in between a few good points, there’s a lot wrong.

    The bulk of it reads like a bottom-feeder strategy — “hey, there’s a lot of crap, so put some lipstick on that pig and you’ll be rich!”.

    Talk about a real issue, that you hinted at with Yobongo: the lack of a real beta capability on iPad. iPhone/iPad products have to be richly featured on day 1 or they can suffer the wrath of low ratings forever.

  20. Not entirely convinced by the “there are no apps so you will get publicity” argument. Good apps rise to the top. Crap apps not so much. What is the point in building a crap app and get famous for it then building a great app and raking in the money?

    App designers should strive to bring the best app to market and really concentrate on the details rather than hack something together and ship it because there’s a market for it “now”.

    Your apps should be a great experience or you’re not trying hard enough.

    The choice of platform should be irrelevant although I’d suggest going to where the money is.

  21. I like what Apple has done in the iOS, but I’m considering launch my app for Android and WebOS, in Android (Honeycomb) and WebOS because both tablet OS are not crowded with Thousands Apps it still easier to get noticed and if you work a lot harder and make a decent app you could even get more exposured, for startups looking for profit the iOS platform is mandatory, but if advertising can pay your month bills Android is the place to be.

  22. Apples recent marketing strategy is its last pinky grip on the lead it maintains in mobile tech. The hardware game is lost, software is getting there, thereafter Apple will have to go back to playing only in the niche market.

    it’s ’95 all over again!

  23. nice post, will do.

    ! you left out adobe’s runtime !

    you can basically build once and deliver your apps all over the place. including iPhone/pad ,…

    at least the graphics, that is. data connections, memory handling,.. other deep technical BS might be different on devices. but the tool is promising and AS3 can handle pretty much. if you know what you are doing, debugging is a piece of cake.

    1. I beg to differ. I suspect AS3 will run well on Honeycomb/Tegra 2, but I’ve run into serious problems building performant apps using AS3 (wink, wink) on Android and iOS. Video works nicely, but interaction is poor.

  24. Nah. HP is the better play – develop on basically html5, be a product launch app, then an easy port to android when you’re solid.

    Then, with two marginal platforms rocking, get it right the third time on iOS. Hibernate the android app, and do further dev as html5 (non iOS devices, including PCs and chromeOS) and iOS.

    Android is big, but a big mess. Maybe a decent marketing play, but not a moneymaker.

    I think that’s also an important distinction. The idealistic student dev might go to android to build experience, but a veteran dev transitioning to mobile, or an out of work engineer? They need to put food on the table. That means iOS, period.

  25. I’d like to add that developing apps for Android doesn’t require a Mac. That helps for company projects.

    I love Macs but can’t get my job to buy me one :)

    1. Hmm. Well, Apple paid out developers $2 billion so far. Maybe if you started a decent app company you could afford to buy yourself a Mac?

      I’d never work for a company that refused to buy me the equipment I needed to do my job.

      1. The way this “Apple paid out” number is getting bandied about, readers could think you are saying that Apple is putting up that money and compensating developers directly. I consider the phrasing disingenuous from the start. That’s customer money, paid through the stores, for products, and Apple even took a cut.

    1. fan manifestos yeah, you don’t want opinion pieces ? you want to stop reading almost everything. Maybe you will spend your time reading recipes, nobody expressing any opinions on those ha ha

    2. oh you are an Apple fanboi now I get it, only opinions liking/encouraging apple products allowed.

  26. You said it yourself, and it’s the number one reason NOT to develop on Android, certainly exclusively – those 200 million credit cards all lined up and ready to go at Apple is really what this is all about, and what it will always be about. Why? Because a splintered Android community over dozens of handsets and tablets each with different specs and limitations isn’t going to catch up any time soon.

    The overall Android community might dwarf Apple’s eventually, but Apple will likely always be well ahead when it comes to credit cards on a single platform. That’s the key part. It’s all well and good to be pro open source – and I’m certainly not opposed to it – but as a medium for generating income for developers it’s a big ask, certainly in this instance.

    Go ahead and develop for Android as well, but unless you’ve got an absolute world beater – and nobody seems to have managed this so far (the apps that get the most hype tend to be Apple ports) – definitely pitch a tent outside Apple HQ, too.

    1. way to miss the point completely, and there is no mention of open source at all in the post. Robert Scoble is listing the competitive reasons that you should develop on android tablets, not for the wishy washy emotional appeal of open source. And unless you develop the next flipboard for IPad, not many of that 200 million will pay to get your app.
      And hey IPads are only a part of 200 million(15 million till now to be precise)

      1. I didn’t miss the point at all. The best developers will always go to where the money is waiting, especially at these volumes. That’s always been a reality, and it’s really that simple. And until and unless that changes, none of the other stuff really matters.

        1. best developers have already gone and been identified by consumers in the Apple platform, Robert Scoble is talking about new developers who have no name and fame, limited budget and start afresh. So you go and make a game and you think you can compete against angry birds eh and all those consumers will download your game eh, no chance, less than zero. Developers don’t just want to make money, they want fame and glory, look at Rovio trying to make a movie franchise out of Angry Birds. Good luck trying to compete with them.

      2. To me Android isn’t really open source. Can you add a feature into Android and have it deployed everywhere Android goes? I don’t think so.

        1. technically the OS is open source I suppose, just because all the gate keepers to the code are from google, doesn’t make it less of an open source product. You can’t add a feature, but you can suggest bug fixes, which then has to be approved by the google gate keepers of course. Maybe Googlers think they are the smartest engineers on the planet :). I am not sure open development with future features clearly road mapped or gate keepers from different companies are a neccesary factor to call a product open source.

        2. Partly – cyanogenmod is run by tens of thousands of “fandroids”. If you submit patches or features there it will be on many different devices and maybe even integrated “upstream”.

        3. Yes, no different than any other open source project. Android is waaaaay on the far end of “commercial open source”, and so Google has to accept any given contribution, and they do so if and only if it is something they are in position to maintain over the long haul. Visit http://source.android.com for more information.

  27. I couldn’t agree more, we’re mid way through development of our own apps, we started out in iOS, but have moved the majority of our efforts over to Android in the past weeks for this very reason, as a start up we need as much free exposure / publicity as possible, so it seemed the obvious way to go to build numbers as quickly as possible. great article, thanks

  28. Nice rundown Robert. I think iOS smoothness comes with specific optimizations that don’t spring from better hw specs, you have to want for example, that portrait/landscape transition to look good and put resources behind making it work well. Hopefully there will be the equivalent of the 90′s PC’s ‘Doom’ moment for Android, where something totally unexpected comes out to change what we think tablet computing is all about.

  29. “There‚Äôs a ready group of fandroids” fandroids is a little demeaning, better wording would be android enthusiasts.

    1. Oh COME ON. Apple enthusiasts have been called “fanboys” for years every time we say something positive about Apple. Now you know what it feels like.

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