Android or iOS – Developer views

This is a great piece from Mashable about developer’s views on both iOS and Android with some interesting views on which OS is a better long term bet.

I’d be very interested to know if these views are shared by audio app developers as well my guess is that the issues might be quite different.


  1. Generally looks pretty good.

    I find it amusing that Android is viewed as “less secure” than iPhone. I think that's utter bunk, and it means the FUD is working. Controls on the two platforms are basically the same.

    The “fragmentation” issue is also wildly exaggerated. (As Google has noted, the word doesn't even seem to have any specific meaning.) I'd put it more simply: developers want the latest OS on all devices, period. That's the most annoying thing. Targeting all the different devices is otherwise relatively easy, certainly far more easy than on other platforms. Otherwise, I think the way this issue has been presented is misleading to downright wrong. But it's hard to overstate how annoying it is that carriers are preventing the latest OS updates from reaching handsets.

    I agree otherwise about relative strengths and weaknesses, but mostly I notice what's missing. Apple has the best support for multitouch and sound, and Google's support of native code remains a work in progress. (Ditto their performance on their own Dalvik VM, though it looks like 2.2 could change that. We'll know when we have it on actual devices.)

    And of course, while these issues I think are potentially important to all developers, they're the showstopper, main issues for people making apps this site cares about.

    Also important to us, and spotty on both platforms: consistent external hardware support.

    Given that these things matter, keep an eye on the emergence of Meego as a potential rival to both iOS and Android, particularly when it comes to tablet/netbook devices (though it's interesting to see Nokia adopting it on the phone).

  2. I find this interesting. I'm by no means a techie, but I think an interesting element in the mix is that Google doesn't advertise…at all. It's the responsibility of the devices/networks to build the Android popularity/brand while the iPhone device and operating system are nearly one in the same, gaining a “halo effect” of sorts.

  3. The so called 'fragmentation' problem of Android OS is not a problem of different OS Versions, the biggest problem and the one which has already doomed AndroidOS is the number of different devices available. It's the same problem JavaME had suffered from, each device has a different implementation. Different screen resolutions, different processors, different keys. That killed JavaME and it will be the same with Android. Look at the huge amount of absolute SHIT that is piling up in the Android Market every day, it already has started to die…

  4. Yes, the fragmentation or whatever you want to call it issue is about supporting different processor speeds, memory sizes, screen sizes, touch sensitivity, etc. Not necessarily hard, not trivial either, particularly with music apps that want to push the limits. And, importantly, supporting all that different stuff is not particularly fun work, it gets tedious fast.

    Note that the iOS platform is starting to have the same issues though. Supporting both an iPod Touch 1G and a iPhone 3GS? They're pretty similar, not too big a deal. Supporting that same 1G and 3GS, plus an iPad, plus a iPhone 4? Hmmm, lots more of that unfun work.

    For music apps, I think iOS is the place to be for the near future. The biggest problem for me with the “walled garden” approach is the unpredictable editorial control for semi-controversial stuff, where people have an app they spent months working on rejected because it's offensive. And that is not an issue at all with music apps. The hardware Apple is putting out is very nice and works predictably, the audio software APIs are pretty good, there is a great music app niche with really cool and polished apps to interact with and spur you to improve, and the users are willing to pay for their apps. No reason to go elsewhere currently.

    I think Android will probably make inroads in other (more popular) app categories first, then the larger installed base will eventually be a draw for music app devs too. Attracting some customers who are willing to pay for apps will also help. But all that's a ways off. Currently it seems like a good place to tinker around, not so much to develop products you want to sell.

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