Appcelerator Survey: Mobile App Development Becoming Priority, Particularly on iOS

By Gerard Longo, Assistant Editor — July 24, 2012

A joint survey conducted by mobile platform company Appcelerator and research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) finds that mobile app development in the enterprise continued on its rise in the second quarter of 2012, with an added emphasis on the development of iOS-compatible enterprise applications.

"We’re entering Phase Two of the development of mobile applications," said Appcelerator Director of Enterprise Michael King. "Enterprises are now really stepping on the gas in terms of the development of mobile applications."

The survey, which includes responses from over 3,500 Appcelerator mobile app developers, also revealed that there is a great amount of intrigue when it comes to developing around the Windows 8 platform and that cloud services continue to gain importance among developers.

The Apple of Developers' Eyes

Apple has taken a sizable lead overall in the minds of Appcelerator developers, though, with 53 percent of those surveyed saying that its iOS operating system is better suited over Android (37%) for enterprise applications. This is a big shift from the third quarter of 2011, when respondents split their vote down the middle between the two operating systems at 44 percent apiece.

King told Mobile Enterprise that this jump in the iOS’ fortunes is due in large part to the Apple’s aggressive marketing campaign, provided support against malware attacks for its products and the introduction of the iPad, among other factors.

"(Apple has) worked very, very hard to gain the lead in the enterprise, and developers see that quite well," King said.

A Battle for Second Place?

While the news would seem mostly bad for Google as it relates to the enterprise, that is not necessarily the case. Although developer interest in Android applications had declined between 9 and 10 percent in the previous three quarters, those numbers have seemed to stabilize. Additionally, Android still seems to have a firm grip on the consumer market, due to the price of Android-capable devices in comparison to Apple’s devices and the sheer volume of Android’s consumer customers.

Still, Android’s new role as second fiddle in the enterprise seems to be the perfect opportunity for Microsoft to strike. While developer interest in the Windows 7 operating system has taken a steep dive - King told Mobile Enterprise that the amount of interested developers in the platform declined 12 percent in just one quarter - developers are taking an optimistic wait-and-see approach with Windows 8. About a third of those surveyed indicated that they are very interested in Windows 8 tablets, despite the fact that no compatible devices have yet been released to the public.

It's In the Clouds

No matter the preferred operating system of developers, though, it seems that most can agree on one thing: their continued use of cloud services in the development of their mobile apps. While the iCloud (50.4%) and Amazon (49.1%) seem to dominate the cloud services used by respondents, 83 percent of all developers plan to continue integrating cloud services into their work.

Overall, this and other trends toward mobility are expected by Appcelerator to gain even more traction as the months and years go on, with more companies expected to emerge with a mobile-first mindset.

"We really see this as the era of mobility," King said. "We’re four years into it so far, and from our viewpoint, we’re beginning to see organizations become mobile-first."

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