Android versus iOS: Which is the better option to start with?
Will there ever be a reprieve for the constant battle between iOS and Android? Even if there is a temporary truce, thorny issues would arise every now and then, eventually calling out for a full-fledged issue between the two. According to a report by the IDC, the market share of Android is predicted to be 82.8% in the second quarter of 2015 while the market share of Apple is 13.9%. In the second quarter of 2014, the statistic was 84.8% and 11.6% for Android and Apple respectively.
If you are engaged in the act of creating a new application, you might be wondering which platform to host it in. The obvious bone of contention would be whether it should be an Android app or an iOS app.
So what does it boil down to? Android or iOS?
Of course, there are several other mobile application platforms, but the two dominant ones are Android and Apple. Users of Apple would always vouch for Apple, but you cannot negate the fact that Android users constitute a huge chunk of the market when you look at it from a global perspective. Perhaps it is the success of HTC and Samsung that has elevated the success of Android phones. So, if you are at the crossroads and would like to decide on which platform to choose, then you can consider the following aspects:
As a developer, what are you familiar with?
Or if you run a company, what platforms are your developers familiar with? If you are planning to develop for iOS, then you will have to get a Mac as well, because unlike Android, you cannot develop iOS on just any OS.
Unfortunately, things are not so rosy when you look at tablets
If you put the Amazon Kindle revolution aside, you can say that Android has been faring fairly poor in the tablet department. iPad is the winner there and so if you are looking for a platform in the tablet version, you better do it in iOS. Kindle, though connected to Android, runs its own version of the story.
If you want a wider target segment and want to give your app for free, then Android would be a better platform.
Most Android apps are provided for free and that is the sole reason why you have so many people routing for Android devices in the mobile phone market. iOS is a platform that can be monetized because users of Apple devices are more willing to pay for their apps than in the Android market. So if you want some monetary benefit directly through your app, Apple would be the better option.
If you are planning to release your app for free then Android would be a better option
Though it is not entirely true that Android users do not pay for their app, because many are willing to pay now, it is still believed that if you are looking for monetary benefit, then Apple is a better platform. Of course, if you are looking for monetary benefits from both platforms, then so be it.
Most major app making companies still believe that Apple is superior to Android and so they prefer to launch in the former. The other significant aspect is that releasing an app in Apple is significantly less problematic than with Android.
Now when you look at it from the developer’s angle
The pay packet
Apple developers get a fatter pay check than the Android developer. Perhaps that is because users of Apple are ready to download paid apps when compared to Android users and Apple users themselves can afford to pay them.
If you are a beginner
Obviously, when you are a beginner in the field of apps, you may want to start off with the easiest. And most developers vouch for the fact that Android is considerably easier to use than iOS. You have Kindle and Google Play as the main marketplace for Android and the restrictions are fairly lenient too.
But, sometimes Android turns out to be a double edged sword
Android is open source and with the wide variety of devices in which they can be used upon, you have a fairly large amount of fragmentation. And that’s not all. There is absolutely no modification or tampering when you use an iOS application. It goes in your iPhone, iPad or any other Apple device in exactly the same way as intended by the company. But Android is not like that at all. It goes through a series of modifications and changes from what the company really intended. It also depends on the phone manufacturer, for example, HTC, ASUS or Samsung.
Ultimately, what should be your decision?
So if you are still confused on whether to start developing for the Android platform or the iOS platform, then you can consider your target segment and location before making the final decision. You would also have to cross the hurdle of which Android platform to target – for example, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Android 4.1.x Jelly Bean or Android 2.3.x Gingerbread. On the other hand, if you prefer to develop for Apple, you won’t have to worry about problems and issues related to screen resolution or graphics processor because Apple controls all that. Small businesses and brands prefer to concentrate on just one platform, while the bigger ones prefer the dual-OS approach.
Pictures: Flickr.com/ George Thomas/ Steven Cooper/ Rob Bulmahn
The author: Reema Oamkumar is engaged as a thought leader at Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.