Distilling market noise into market sense
The VisionMobile blog is a space where VisionMobile analysts and industry insiders exchange views on the fast-changing mobile market and the trends that define the future direction of telecoms.
How do developers perceive different platforms and how is their platform choice affected by the type of apps they developed or the way they define success? Andreas Pappas looks into the data from VisionMobile’s Developer Economics survey in Q3 2013 to shed some light on these questions.
Not long ago, the choice of a mobile platform, i.e. which mobile platform to support was a key question for developers. That question has more or less been addressed now: iOS and Android accounted for 94% of smartphone sales in Q3 2013 and there is little doubt that they will continue to dominate the market in the years to come. For organisations that require massive scale, combined with all the perks of a mobile ecosystem (monetisation, distribution, platform services), iOS and Android are the platforms of choice with a combined Mobile Developer Mindshare of over 85% based on the last Developer Economics survey in Q3 2013.
HTML5 is perceived as a lower quality platform, mainly because of performance. This comes both as a result of survey data, as well as developer interviews. Yet, industry experts claim the problem is lack of tools. So what is the HTML5 really missing, performance or tools? VisionMobile’s Web Technology Lead, and author of our acclaimed “Can HTML5 compete with native?” research report, debates the performance vs. tools issue.
In April 2013 VisionMobile asked mobile app developers what stops them from using HTML5. 46% answered “Performance issues”, followed by 37% who said “Lack of APIs” (sample size: 1,518 developers).
We spoke to developers about their views on HTML5 performance. Apostolos Papadopoulos, author of 4sqwifi, a highly acclaimed public WiFi password app, noted “Quality and user experience is top priority for us. Therefore, we prefer going with a Native API”. It’s a common practice for developers to go native for better performance and user experience. But user experience, meaning following the behavioural conventions of the native platform, is a different story and HTML5 can’t help much. Developers can try to imitate but for a truly native UX they have to use Native SDKs; unless we are talking of Firefox OS or the long-awaited Tizen.