Is there an app for that? Maybe not, if you’re one of the 80% of smartphone users who prefer Android devices! You’re probably familiar with the frustration caused by not being able to get the same cool apps your iPhone-using friends…but why is this?
It’s easier to be sure an iPhone app will work properly across all iPhone devices.
This is because any hardware manufacturer can make their own phone or tablet that runs on Android, which has allowed there to be literally thousands of devices for consumers to choose from.
Due to so many companies creating a huge number of Android devices, hardware specs can vary wildly between devices. As a result, an app that was designed on one Android device might not be capable of running properly on a different Android device. This issue is called fragmentation, and it can be really frustrating for both developers and users.
While the iPhone can occasionally run into some backwards-compatibility issues on models that date back more than two generations, generally, fragmentation isn’t’t a problem for the iOS. Apple is the only company that makes phones for their iOS platform, so they are in control of all the hardware and have very few devices. So while only twenty percent of smartphones out there are iPhones, a developer can be sure that they all will operate the same way.
If you’re looking to get into mobile app development, remember that many fragmentation issues have to do with complex apps that require particular hardware that not all devices have, like games or media players. If you want to make a simple app that requires no particular specifications, like a tip calculator or something basic, there’s no reason to worry too much about fragmentation issues on Android. Android also allows more types of apps, particularly ones that allow you to customize and change your phone’s interface. A lot of developers simply develop for the platform that they themselves use.
If you’re still not sure which operating system to create for, it might help you to know that many developers like to make their apps for the iPhone first because it requires fewer resources to reach more people. Some very successful iPhone apps never even make it to Android at all. Make no mistake: developers aren’t ignoring the mass of Android users, it’s just that Android apps require much more time and resources to develop and maintain if they’re going to be widely compatible.
Payout, Profit and Piracy
If you’re looking to make revenue on your app, you might want to consider developing for iOS, seeing as the App Store rakes in three times as much money as the Google Play store.
This may have to do with the amount of piracy that goes on within the Google Play store, but it may also be that Android users are generally less willing to pay for apps.
The good news about Android is that this has been improving. Fragmentation will be a problem for as long as the operating system is open source, but Google has been gathering data and better informing developers of hardware specifications to ensure widely-compatible apps. As Android grows, apps are coming out more quickly, some even simultaneously with iOS. And Android’s app store has seen steadily increasing sales.