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Google's Schmidt: Android to top iOS among devs in 6 months

updated 11:30 am EST, Wed December 7, 2011

Google chair sees flip on iOS-first development

Developers will finally start focusing on Android first instead of iOS in the next half a year, Google chairman Eric Schmidt said in his presentation at the Le Web conference Friday. When asked by an Android user frustrated that developers still preferred the iPad and iPhone, Schmidt expected Android 4.0 to reverse that trend. "My prediction is that six months from now you'll say the opposite," CNET quoted him as saying.

He also insisted that app developers were motivated by the sheer volume of users. This inherently favored Android's 'open' model, Schmidt claimed. With numerous hardware developers, Google was likely to pull ahead versus Apple's self-contained development.

Android 4.0 is expected to help developers just by letting them write for both phones and tablets with mostly similar expectations for each, much in the way iOS developers could support both iPhones and iPads since 2010. It further brings in a raft of new programming interfaces for developers to tap into the calendar, social information, and low-level media access that had previously been common only in iOS.

Schmidt's position still sidesteps issues that have kept developers either developing for iOS first or exclusively. Developers have complained of a bias towards free and pirated apps on Android, giving them no incentive to offer paid apps. Certain types of apps, such as games, are also much harder to implement on Android, since apps have to account for several resolutions, screen sizes, control schemes, and processor configurations to work properly.

Android 4.0 won't be reaching any other devices besides Google's in-house Nexus models until 2012, limiting the ability of developers to use the new features for several months or more.

by MacNN Staff



  1. erics

    Joined: Dec 1969


    But of course...

    What was he suppose to say?
    No we suck!

  1. pairof9s

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Considering he names nothing that really Android has exclusive, these developers would have no incentive to create an iOS version. Smoke much dope, Eric?



    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sure ..We believe him

    I wonder what features Google will steal from Apple to make this flip happen?

  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969



    So google expects a surge of malware in the next 6 months. Android is already beating every mobile platform for malware developments.

  1. macnixer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    In other news

    iPhone 4S still outsells all Android devices.

    Personal opinion - I will never trust my data with Google - would rather sleep with the enemy original. :)

  1. prl99

    Joined: Dec 1969


    what phones will use Android4?

    From what I've been reading, existing Android-based phones aren't really being updated so Android4 will only be for new phones or Google's own Nexus phones. This really limits the distribution so I can't see how Schmidt can actually make these comments with a straight face. I guess he expects all current Android-based phone users to simply dump their phones next year for new ones.

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Stopped dead by Kindle Fire

    Honeycomb may help reduce the catastrophic Android fragmentation in the handset space. But in the pad space, Kindle Fire has killed off all other Android-based iPad clones. If it hasn't done so already, it will soon outsell all other Android-based pads. Thus it becomes the Android pad of choice for all Android developers. Plain and simple.

    The problem for Google is that Amazon uses a forked version Android 2.3. They have completely removed the "profit layer" and replaced it with their own Amazon-centric middleware. Google gets zero revenue from content sales, zero revenue from Amazon App Store sales, zero ad revenue, and worst of all, zero customer information like purchase histories, product affinities, and contact info.

    Amazon has found that Android 2.3 was "good enough" to modify for their own purposes. They can and will completely ignore Ice Cream Sandwich and Honeycomb. Their customers will never know the difference. It would be a waste of effort to jump through Google's new-API hoops for no reason.

    The Kindle Fire has frozen Android at Amazon's proprietary, closed version of 2.3 in the pad computing space. Android developers should feel relieved. No more "moving APIs" to chase. Stick a fork in it. It's done.

  1. facebook_James

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Dec 2011


    How many devices can run 4.0

    I'm not an Android user, but from what I've heard many of the devices out there today can not run the new OS when it does get released. As a developer I would want the masses on the platform before I make it my primary focus. Even some of the most recent and publicized devices powered by Android (I'm thinking the Kindle Fire) are running extremely old versions of the Android OS (I think it's something as old as 2.3).

    I could see developers focusing on Android first if it had a more consistent install base and upgrades where more quickly propagated out to the install base.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Again, I state for the record...

    Android is winning. Apple is doomed.

    There is no way that developers are going to be focusing on Android. That platform is still a crazy quilt of various incarnations of Android OS. Forget about the older Android smartphones. Developers will never be able to unify that mess. The developers are going to have to start from scratch on Ice Cream Sandwich to be on the safe side.

  1. mytdave

    Joined: Dec 1969


    that's a good one

    Don't count on it Eric...

    There has been an increase in developer support for Android, I'm just not sure why... If you want to target Android devices, you're in for developing 10 different versions (or more) of your app, while you only need 2 versions for iOS. And that's just the beginning. Then there's issues with profitability, exposure (marketing), security, ecosystem (lack of), etc.

    I'm not saying it's worthless to develop for Android. If I was a software writer, I'd develop for Android, but they would be 2nd in priority to iOS, and some of my best apps would remain iOS only since there's no market for them on Android (high quality, higher priced items, or items that tap into the vast ecosystem of iDevice accessories).

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