April 26, 2011 at 9:27 AM ET
Based on a survey of mobile app developers, it seems that there's a general impression that Google and Apple are untouchable — interest in other platforms isn't even close to matching that for Android and iOS — and that developing for Android tablets is risky, while the PlayBook isn't worth much time or effort.
The folks behind mobile development platform Appcelerator surveyed 2,760 developers about their perceptions when it comes to mobile operating systems and future development plans recently. The data collected in the survey provides a little peek into the minds of the folks who create the mobile apps we know and love.
Here's what we can learn from the results:
Of the developers surveyed, 91 percent said that they are "very interested" in iPhone development and 86 percent responded that they are "very interested" in iPad development. These numbers can be compared to an 85% interest in Android phone development and a 71 percent interest in Android tablet development.
It is worth noting that the interest in development for both Android phones and tablets has dropped a bit since last year. Apparently the risk that comes with platform fragmentation is to blame for this phenomena:
Google witnessed a plateau in its earlier momentum gains. Reported interest in Android phones fell two points to 85% and Android tablets fell three points to 71 percent after increasing twelve points in Q1. Although technically within standard deviations, these drops stand in contrast to steadily increasing developer interest in Android over the last year and are consistent with an increase in developer frustration with Android. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of respondents said that device fragmentation in Android poses the biggest risk to Android, followed by weak initial traction in tablets (30 percent) and multiple Android app stores (28 percent).
Now while interest in Android development has waned a bit, the impression that Google — just like Apple — is untouchable remains. In fact, when developers were asked if they feel that anyone could catch up to either of the two companies in momentum at this point, 62 percent responded with a clear "no."
This response fits in with the data in the chart below — one which shows that there is a growing gap between the the development frontrunners and everyone else.
This chart also reveals that Windows Phone 7, BlackBerry phones, and the BlackBerry PlayBook experienced quite a dip in interest since the first quarter of the year. This shift of course doesn't exactly help the impression that any platform would struggle to catch up with the two big players — Google and Apple. (Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)
If you'd like to check out the full 17-page report generated by Appcelerator, you can do so right here.