updated 12:15 am EDT, Thu September 30, 2010
App Store approval process a sore point, however
About half of all iPhone app developers are making more money than they expected, while about the same number of Android devs report making less than expected, according to a new survey conducted by IT pollsters Open-First of 110 developers for both marketplaces. A plurality of devs rated Apple's App Store as better overall than the Android Marketplace, with 78% expressing some level of satisfaction with the iOS selling experience and a whopping 99% saying they'd continue to write for the platform. However, the Android Marketplace continues to win favor due to its rapid growth, and could easily make changes to balance the equation against Apple, the surveys found.
For starters, a consistent group of about 28 percent of developers expressed dissatisfaction with the Apple's App Store versus alternatives, with most complaints centered around the length of the approval process and unclear reasons sometimes given for rejection. The lack of adults-only apps was a topic of contention with a third of developers. Difficulty in getting a niche app noticed in the popularity-driven market was also a significant areas of concern.
The Android Marketplace scored over the App Store with developers primarily in the lack of any "gatekeeping" by Google, meaning apps get published more or less immediately. This instant "approval" process was also, ironically, the main source of issues for developers -- with many complaining that the market was flooding with low-quality apps and that Android's user base was more heavily composed of open-source and free-software fans, making paid apps a more difficult sell and creating strong downward pressure on prices, particularly compared with the range of higher-priced popular apps on the App Store.
Android devs did praise Google's ability to better promote apps, but joined with App Store developers in objecting to the current obstacles present on both stores for providing support to end users. Overall, taking in data from other app stores like those from Nokia, Blackberry and Microsoft, Android ranks a close second to Apple in developer satisfaction and developers indicated that they are willing to give the Android Marketplace time to improve.