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Developers Bet on Google's Android

The search engine giant's operating system has the best long-term business prospects, according to a new survey.
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Developers have seen the future of business, and they say it's Google's Android.

Apple's operating system is the best opportunity for business now, but not in the long-term, according to a new suvey of some 2,400 developers from around the world, conducted by software development tools company Appcelerator and research firm IDC.

Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of developers say Google's Android operating system "is best positioned to power a large number and variety of connected devices in the future," while just 25 percent said Apple iOS – which runs the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad tablet — will dominate smartphones, touch-screen refrigerators and other connected devices of the future. The gap between Google and Apple has widened 10 points since the last survey, conducted in March.

Just over half of developers (56 percent) said they'd bet on Android long-term for business prospects, while 37 percent picked Apple. But in the short term, 75 percent said money-making would be easier with Apple. Nearly nine in ten developers (88 percent) said Apple has the best app store, with almost all (91 percent) saying they were "very interested" in creating applications for Apple gadgets. Four in five (82 percent) said they were keen on working with Android smartphones.

Google's Android smartphone operating system is expected to take the lead in the global popularity contest that includes Apple, Research in Motion (Blackberry's parent company), and Microsoft's Windows. In May, Android topped the iPhone in U.S. smartphone sales.  And the Samsung Tab — the first Android tablet— will soon launch, and other companies are expected to follow in its wake. 

Nearly 56 percent of developers said they favored Android's long-term outlook as a platform for them to make money, while 37 percent picked iOS, the Apple mobile operating system that runs the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad tablet.

"It's a forward-looking perspective," Scott Schwarzhoff, Appcelerator's vice president of marketing, told the San Jose Mercury News. "Developers are building a business. So they have to place bets. It means dollars and cents to them. They look at all the factors and say, 'Well, how long can this horse really ride?' "

It doesn't help Android widely is considered the most open platform, with 85 percent of developers voting for it. This is after Apple in June revised its once super-strict developer agreement.

"The reason this is a problem for Apple is, you will see Android embedded on devices beyond the smartphone -- tablets, connected TVs, conference systems like Cisco's TelePresence, stereos, refrigerators, automobiles," Schwarzhoff said. "How many devices could benefit from the Android operating system? The answer is: A lot. It is the next-generation operating system."

Last updated: Sep 28, 2010

COURTNEY RUBIN

Inc. contributing editor Courtney Rubin was for five years a London-based staff writer for People magazine. Rubin, a former senior writer for Washingtonian magazine, has written for the New York Times magazine, Time, Marie Claire, and other publications. She is the author of The Weight-Loss Diaries.




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