More than 5,500 software developers were asked to look into their crystal balls. Here's what they saw.
Facebook, Google, and anybody else involved in advertising have their best brains working on how to monetize mobile. The big question, of course, is how to get advertisers to spend their dollars there--it's something they've been hesitant to do en masse because consumer preferences can't be tracked and targeted in the same way they can on a desktop computer.
Someone will figure it out, and location awareness will definitely be part of the solution, although that's not without its caveats, as well, thanks to pesky little considerations like privacy.
In the meantime, developers are pressing on. But in which directions?
Never mind that Facebook has nearly one billion users. The plummeting of its stock has been "painful to watch," and clearly its business model hasn't stood up to all the hype leading up to its IPO in May. So can a start-up--one with a social product geared for mobile from the get-go--disrupt the almighty Facebook? According to the survey results, 66% of developers think so.
Apps for More Than Phones and Tablets
By 2015, most developers say, they'll be coding apps for more than just smartphones and tablets--branching out into televisions (83.5%), game consoles (71.2%), the foldable screen (68.1%), and Google Glass (67.1%).
It's interesting to note that 74% of those surveyed plan to build apps for connected cars. Considering that California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill Tuesday regulating self-driving cars in the state, it's easy to imagine a day when innovative apps built into cars that drive themselves will let us thoroughly embrace distracted driving--maybe we can even work on the way to work!
Developers Don't Like HTML5 Mobile Apps
When asked to rate their satisfaction with a number of features the standard supports, developers were lukewarm, to say the least. Most gave the rating "neutral to dissatisfied" regarding the HTML5 user experience (62%), performance (72.4%), monetization (83.4%), fragmentation (75.4%), distribution control (60.3%), timeliness of new updates (67.9%), and security (81.8%). The only things that satisfy developers when it comes to HTML5 are cross-development capabilities (83.4%) and immediate updates (81.8%).
All of these gripes probably help explain why Facebook recently did an about-face when it created its latest iOS apps with native code instead of HTML5. As a result, twice the number of stories are now read on Facebook's new apps, reports GigaOm.
Love for Android Continues to Slide
It's no surprise Apple is still king when it comes to developers who are very interested in building apps for the iPhone and iPad (85% and 83%, respectively). In contrast, for several quarterly surveys in a row their desire to create apps for Android has been in decline. Only 76% of developers are very interested in developing for Android phones and even fewer for the ecosystem's tablets (66%).
The survey yielded other interesting findings, such as the fact that developers' interest in building apps for RIM's BlackBerry platform is at an all-time low as well as their view that Windows 8 is promising because it makes programming for both the desktop and tablet easy. Even so, they say unless hordes of people start buying devices with it installed, the beauty of Windows 8 doesn't matter a bit.
CHRISTINA DESMARAIS is an Inc.com contributor who writes about the tech startup community, covering innovative ideas, news, and trends. Have a tip? Email her at christinadesmarais (at) live (dot) com. @salubriousdish