What Other Developers Are Thinking
As we finish 2012 and head into 2013, a new year is always a good opportunity to evaluate your current plans and strategies and think about plotting a new course. One way to approach this is to look at what other developers are thinking and doing.
In the past few years, several analysts have started covering developers. Vision Mobile has a survey that is made public (AT&T is a sponsor for 2013). Another analyst that has been focused on developers is Evans Data. They do several surveys and recently released their 2012 Mobile Development Survey. We cannot release this, but I will summarize some of the more interesting findings.
The survey is worldwide and covers both enterprise and consumer developers. They really work hard to provide a diverse and unbiased sample. The report is organized into several areas:
Runtime, Native, or Hybrid
This has become a big focus of the program and something developers really need to incorporate to differentiate their apps. No surprise that communication, commerce, search, and location APIs were the most widely used. The biggest surprise to me was that only four percent chose advertising. As noted previously, a portion of the developers surveyed focus on enterprise, but I still thought that would be higher.
No big surprises here. Screen size fragmentation is the biggest concern (which includes moving between smartphones and tablets), followed by OS fragmentation, and then CPU fragmentation. I will be curious if CPU fragmentation becomes a bigger concern. First, Intel is focusing on mobile space. Second, as ARM begins supporting Windows 8 along with Intel, it will be interesting to see what efforts developers take.
Again, no major surprises here. Camera support, GPS, and device pairing were the most popular. After that was voice recognition (which pleased me, with our current focus on our speech API). Accelerometer, range finder, and gyroscope were also all popular (all with at least 30% support). There is clearly a trend here towards more developers incorporating wider device features and APIs.
Here, Android and Windows are gaining developer support while BlackBerry is slowing (although retaining some devs—and hopefully devs will give BlackBerry OS 10 a shot). As far as the top factors that drive platform decisions, these include Device feature support, revenue potential, availability of tools, and platform familiarity. As far as tablet screen sizes, more focus on 10” than 7”.
Minimum Amount of Money per Year to Continue Mobile Development
I always find these results interesting. The costs continue to go down, probably due to better tools and knowledge. Nine percent say none (hobbyists in survey), 23% say $1,000 or less, another 23% say $1,000 to $25,000, 18% say $25,000-$100,000, and then 25% say over $100,000. I think this spread reflects the variety of applications we all see in the stores. Clearly, many of the biggest selling apps cost a lot to develop—but for the rest that do not sell that well, they need to really watch their development costs.
The item I am most pleased with is that AT&T was rated best for the seventh year in the row. Now, this is not a big surprise since we seem to invest more than other programs, but I am still always glad to see this. Factors that matter include speed of the network, quality of developer program, platform support, APIs, tools and more. In the future, we plan to focus more on tools, APIs, and support so that we can continue to serve the developer community as best as we can.