Applications developers are focused on creating mobile applications for the enterprise with Apple set to take the lead, according to the 2Q 2012 Mobile Developer Survey of 3,500 Appcelerator developers from around the world, conducted in partnership with IT research firm IDC.
Developers also are interested in Microsoft's Windows 8 platform, with cloud services playing a major role in developing mobile apps moving forward.
Among the most significant findings is the 16 percent lead Apple holds over Google's open-source Android operating system concerning which OS is thought to win the enterprise apps market, with 53.2 percent saying iOS will win, versus 37.3 percent saying that Android will win. In the period since the last survey was conducted, Apple has taken a strong lead in the 3Q 2011 survey, developers viewed iOS and Android in a dead heat at 44 percent each.
According to the report, Apple's strength in the enterprise was attributed to several factors, including the success of the company's best-selling iPad tablet (which currently dominates that market); fragmentation among Android devices, which can cause IT challenges and headaches; regular reporting of Android malware; and "resulting anecdotal reporting of enterprises re-evaluating widespread Android deployment outside of particular business vertical implementations," for example machine-to-machine (M2M) technology.
After a noticeable erosion of developer interest over the last year, the level of developers "very interested" in Android handsets stabilized in Q2 2012 compared with the Q1, and Android tablet "very interested" levels ticked up 2.9 percent. However, rising interest in Microsoft's Metro user interface (UI) and tablets based on the Windows 8 OS could give Microsoft the boost it needs to eclipse Android as the second-highest priority app development platform, the report noted.
Overall, 66 percent of mobile application developers use multiple platform development tools to build apps, with the primary motivations for using these tools being the sheer number of mobile operating systems that a mobile app must address and the fragmentation of those individual operating systems. More than eight in 10 (83 percent) of all developers said they plan to use cloud services and also intend to use a cloud solution for the back end.
"This percentage remains consistent with our findings in the 2Q 2011 survey. Apple's iCloud and Amazon's cloud platform offerings are at the top of surveyed developers plans, while Microsoft's Azure trails with comparatively tepid interest," the report noted. "This underscores the need to connect mobile applications to cloud-based services, such as Appcelerator Cloud Services (ACS), within the next year. It also highlights the challenges facing Microsoft in translating its enterprise strengths in Azure, Windows and Office into the mobile space."