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  • 1. ©VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. July 2010Making sense of a fragmented worldMobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondInsights and analysis from the definitive mobile developer surveyPlus benchmarks on the platform development experience Created by Sponsored by
  • 2. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondBehind Mobile Developer Economics 2010 ContentsAndreas Constantinou, Research Director About this research 4Elizabeth Camilleri, Research Partner The migration of developer mindshare 8Matos Kapetanakis, Marketing Manager Taking applications to market 15About VisionMobile The building blocks of mobile 28 applicationsVisionMobile is a market analysis and strategy firmdelivering market know-how to the mobile industry. We The role of networks in taking apps to 38offer research reports, industry maps, training courses marketand advisory services on under-the-radar market sectors Appendix 1: Research Methodology 46and emerging technologies. Appendix 2: Comparative platform 50VisionMobile Ltd. benchmarks90 Long Acre, Covent Garden, Appendix 3: Developer contests and 55London WC2E 9RZ standards groups+44 845 003 us: @visionmobileContact us: See alsoLicense Mobile Industry Atlas: your competitive landscape of the mobile ecosystem, mappingCopyright © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. 1,100+ companies across 69 market sectors. Available in wallchart and PDF format.Licensed under a Creative CommonsAttribution 3.0 License. reuse or remixing of the work should beattributed to the VisionMobile DeveloperEconomics Report sponsored by TelefonicaDeveloper Communities.Feedback?For comments, feedback and more information:www.DeveloperEconomics.comDisclaimerVisionMobile believes the statements contained in thispublication to be based upon information that weconsider reliable, but we do not represent that it isaccurate or complete and it should not be relied upon assuch. Opinions expressed are current opinions as of thedate appearing on this publication only and theinformation, including the opinions contained herein, aresubject to change without notice.Use of this publication by any third party for whateverpurpose should not and does not absolve such third partyfrom using due diligence in verifying the publication’scontents. VisionMobile disclaims all implied warranties,including, without limitation, warranties ofmerchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.VisionMobile, its affiliates and representatives shall haveno liability for any direct, incidental, special, orconsequential damages or lost profits, if any, suffered byany third party as a result of decisions made, or notmade, or actions taken, or not taken, based on thispublication. © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 2
  • 3. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondForewordDeveloper Economics 2010 is a global research report delving into all aspects of mobileapplication development, across 400+ developers segmented into eight major platforms: iOS(iPhone), Android, Symbian, BlackBerry, Java ME, Windows,Phone, Flash/Flash Lite, andmobile web (WAP/XHTML/CSS/Javascript). The report provides an unprecedented range ofinsights into all the touchpoints of mobile app development, from selecting a platform topocketing the profits.Research was conducted between January and June 2010. It was carried out by a team ofthree researchers, five interviewers, and eight mobile app developers. This major researchproject represents a first, in terms of the depth and breadth of the research into mobiledeveloper attitudes and expectations. Our hope is that this report will be seminal in forgingbridges between the two sides of the ecosystem: the mobile industry decision makers, and themobile application developers.Andreas, Eli, Matos & team at VisionMobileFollow us on twitter: @visionmobileA word from our sponsor, Telefonica Developer CommunitiesWelcome to “Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond”.Telefonica has always sought to base our roadmap on a clear understanding of the wants andneeds of developers. We conducted comprehensive developer research in both 2008 and2009, and we have used the insight gained as the foundation for our current and futuredeveloper community plans. Working with VisionMobile to create “Developer Economics2010 and Beyond” was a natural evolution of this process.For a long time we have felt the industry has been lacking research that credibly tackled thekey issues facing developers. “Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond” was an ambitiousproject. I am confident that due to the quality of the participants and the breadth of theresearch, this project has uncovered many of the key issues in application development today.The participants represent 53 countries and 290 individual companies. More than 40 percentof these respondents have at least five years experience in developing apps, while 78 percenthave been developing apps for more than 12 months. Participants include almost 20 ForumNokia Champions, three Android Developer Challenge Finalists, two Handango Champions,winners of the Vodafone Summer of Widgets Contest, NavTeq Global LBS challenge, the FlashLite Developer Challenge, and the Blackberry Developer Challenge.I’m delighted that through Telefonica’s support of this project the results can be freelydistributed.This report breaks new ground, and as such I feel it opens as many questions as it answers. Iwould encourage you to feedback your opinions on the findings If you are a mobile developer and would like to be involved innext year’s report, please contact VisionMobile at Parton, Head of Developer Marketing, TelefonicaJune 2010Follow me here: @jamesparton © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 3
  • 4. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondAbout this ResearchDeveloper Economics 2010 provides insights into platform selection, applicationplanning, code development and debugging, as well as support, go-to-marketchannels, promotion, revenue generation, and hot topics such as the role of opensource and network operators.The objectives behind this research were to analyse the mobile developer experiencefrom two very different angles: 1. Survey the perceptions of mobile developers across the eight major platforms - Android, iOS (iPhone), BlackBerry, Symbian, Windows Phone, Flash/Flash Lite, Java ME and mobile web (WAP/XHTML/CSS/JavaScript) – and through a balanced combination of online surveys and telephone interviews. 2. Benchmark the app development experience across four platforms (iOS/iPhone, Symbian, Android, Java ME) through hands-on development of nine mini applications.The survey methodology, developer distribution across platforms and regions, as wellas the benchmark methodology appears in Appendix 1.Key messages• Commercial Pragmatism. In the last two years, mobile software and applications have moved from the sphere of cryptic engineering lingo to part of the essential marketing playbook for mobile industry vendors. At the same time, software developers have grown to be much more knowledgeable, pragmatic and savvy about the economic implications of mobile development.• Market penetration is hands down the most important reason for selecting a platform, chosen by over 75 percent of respondents across each and every platform. Developers care more about addressable market and monetisation potential than any single technical aspect of a platform.• Platform concurrency. Most developers work on multiple platforms - on average, 2.8 platforms per developer, based on our sample of 400 respondents. Moreover, among iPhone and Android developers, one in five releases apps in both the Apple App Store and Android Market.• Mindshare migration. In the last two years, a mindshare migration has taken place, with mobile developers moving away from “incumbent” platforms, namely Symbian, Java ME and Windows Phone. The large minority (20-25 percent) of Symbian respondents who sell their apps via iPhone and Android app stores reveals the brain-drain that is taking place towards these newer platforms. The vast majority of Java ME respondents have lost faith in the write-once-run- anywhere vision. Moreover, anecdotal developer testimonials suggest that half of Windows Phone MVP developers (valued for their commitment to the platform) carry an iPhone, and would think twice before re-investing in Windows Phone. © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 4
  • 5. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond• Android as mindshare leader. Android stands out as the platform most popular with mobile developers. Our survey results suggest nearly 60 percent of all mobile developers recently developed on Android, assuming an equal number of respondents with experience across each of eight major platforms (see research methodology in Appendix 1). iOS (iPhone) is second in terms of developer mindshare, outranking Symbian and Java ME, which were in pole position in 2008.• Mindshare vs addressable market disconnect. Platform characteristics could not be more diverse across installed base and number of apps, revealing a disconnect between developer mindshare and addressable market for each platform. For example, the Symbian operating system is deployed in around 390 million handsets (Q2 2010), and claims over 6,000 apps, while Apple’s iPhone has seen 30x more applications while being deployed at just 60 million units over the same period.• Developer bias. Most developers have a head-strong affinity towards the platform(s) they have invested time in, which distorts the perception of platform characteristics; across all eight major mobile platforms we surveyed, respondents felt that the best aspect of their platform was the large market penetration, even if the actual market penetration was relatively small.Market-related insights• Market channels that were once mainstream, pre-2008, today take only a small chunk of the go-to-market pie for mobile apps. Operator portals and on- device preloading through OEM or operator deals is the primary channel to market for fewer than five percent of mobile developers surveyed. Our findings show that developers resort to either ‘native’ app stores, or to direct download via their own websites – in addition to the traditional model of bespoke app development.• Planning techniques are ubiquitous for application developers. Over 90 percent of respondents use some form of planning technique, such as beta testing or peer reviewing, for deciding on the target user segment or application features. However, given the hundreds of thousands of mobile apps, we believe that efficient (crowd-sourced) app testing is considerably under-served.• App stores have reduced the average time-to-shelf by two thirds: from 68 days across traditional channels, to 22 days via an app store, according to our research. Moreover, app stores have reduced the average time-to-payment by more than half; from 82 days across traditional channels, to 36 days via an app store. On average, it takes 55 days to get paid via an operator channel, or a whooping 168 days when on-device pre-loading via a handset manufacturer.• Short-head app stores. Despite the hype, there is little use or availability of app stores outside the Apple and Android platforms. Only five percent of Java and just over 10 percent of Windows Phone respondents reported using an app store as a primary distribution channel.• Discovery bottleneck. The key challenge reported by mobile developers is the lack of effective marketing channels to increase application exposure and discovery. Moreover, half of respondents are willing to pay for premium app store placement. Despite their commercial savvy, developers have not taken application marketing into their own hands. © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 5
  • 6. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond• Certification. The most important challenge in app certification is its cost; more than 30 percent of respondents who certify their apps report the high cost of the certification process as the number one challenge. The economics – often 100s of dollars per certification – do not work for low-cost apps, but only for mega- productions.• Dubious long tail economics. App stores are young and surrounded by a hype wave that distorts the reality of average per-capita monetisation. Only five percent of respondents reported very good revenues, above their expectations. Moreover, nearly 60 percent of iPhone respondents had not reached their revenue targets.• Popular revenue models. Ad-funded models are only secondary revenue sources for developers employing app store and portal-based channels. Despite the hype, our research found ad-funded models lagging much behind tried and tested pay-per-download models. Subscription models, meanwhile, mainly apply where the application is distributed via an operator or content aggregator portal; they have made limited inroads into app stores.• Role of operators. Mobile developers view network operators as bit-pipes. Nearly 80 percent of respondents think that the role of network operators should be to deliver data access anywhere/anytime, while only 53 percent considered their role to be delivering voice calls.• Operator support. The majority of developers had not interacted directly with operators, but were very opinionated towards the lack of support. Almost 70 percent of respondents thought there was little or no developer support from network operators. Moreover, industry standards, consortia and joint initiatives (including OMTP and WAC) appear to have captured very little developer mindshare.Technical-related insights• Learning curve and efficiency. The learning curve varies greatly across mobile platforms. On average, the Symbian platform takes 15 months or more to learn, while for Android the average reported time is less than six months. Moreover, Symbian is much more difficult and time consuming to program than iOS (iPhone), Android or Java ME; our benchmarks show that for developing nine different typical applications, a Symbian developer needs to write almost three times more code than an Android developer, and twice as much code as an iPhone developer.• Development environment. From a technical perspective, top pain points for mobile emulators and debuggers are slow speed and poor target device mirroring. Top pain points for development environments (IDEs) are the absence of an app porting framework, and poor emulator integration.• Debugging. In terms of debugging, our benchmarking shows that Android has the fastest debugging process, compared with iPhone, Symbian and Java ME. Debugging in Symbian takes up more than twice the time it takes on Android.• UI tools. Ability to build compelling UIs is still far from the reach of most mobile developers. Around 50 out of 100 Symbian, BlackBerry and Windows Phone per- platform respondents are annoyed with the difficulty in creating great UIs. © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 6
  • 7. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond• Support. Our research indicates that the majority of developers (more than 80 percent of respondents) rely on community or unofficial forums for support during software development, while websites are used for support by only 40 percent of respondents.• Hidden device APIs. Access to unpublished or ‘hidden’ device APIs is a control point for platform vendors, but it is also what developers seem to be willing to pay for – in fact, more so than any other type of technical support. We believe that platform vendors could benefit from tiered SDK programs, where privileged SDKs are available to developers on a subscription plan.• Network APIs. Operator network API programs have so far failed to appeal to developers. Only five percent of respondents thought that the role of network operators should be to expose network APIs. Yet more than half would pay for billing APIs, followed by messaging and location APIs.• Open source. On average, 86 percent of respondents who use open source at work use it within development tools such as Eclipse. Android and iPhone developers are three times more likely to lead open source communities, compared to Symbian, revealing the contrasting pedigree of the developer communities. The single key drawback to open source reported by 60 percent of respondents was the confusion created by open source licenses; we believe education on open source realities can be used as a competitive advantage for developer programs launched by operators and OEMs. © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 7
  • 8. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondPart 1The Migration of Developer Mindshare © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 8
  • 9. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondPart 1. The Migration of Developer MindshareSoftware has played a critical role in transforming the mobile industry since thebeginning of the century. Since 2008, mobile software and applications have movedfrom the sphere of cryptic engineering lingo to part of the essential marketingplaybook for mobile industry vendors. Mobile industry players are now vying to winsoftware developer mindshare, in order to add value on top of their devices andnetworks.The evolution of mobile software 2000-2015The mobile industry’s relationship with software has evolved through three distinctphases.The Dark Ages (2000-2004). The first five years witnessed the hype of themobile Internet and the shift of power – from hardware features to software smarts,and from manufacturer control to network operator control. The incumbent mobileplatforms – Symbian, Windows Smartphone, PalmOS, Java ME and BREW – werethen seen as the one-way street for manufacturers to ‘open up’ their phones to thepossibilities of the Internet and to modernise their aging legacy platforms. Operatingsystems were open simply by virtue of published APIs. Mobile development was inthe Dark Ages, with information on routes to market and monetisation available onlyto those working within the inner circles of the mobile industry.The Renaissance period (2005-2009). The next five years witnessed the hype ofthe smartphone, the launch of iconic experience products, the app store phenomenonand the displacements caused by open source. New mobile platforms like BlackBerry,Android and iOS opened their doors to developers, while the incumbentstransformed (Symbian Foundation) or withered in popularity (PalmOS and JavaME). Mobile widget platforms allowed web applications to be first class citizens.Open source disrupted both the operating system business (killing off UIQ andMOAP, and sidelining Windows Phone) and also the browser business, displacing thetop two browser vendors, Teleca and Openwave. This era proved that it’s not enoughto have open APIs; an open, streamlined developer-to-consumer channel forapplications, popularly known as an “app store”, is also essential. Mobiledevelopment moved to the Renaissance period, in which developers are much moreknowledgeable – and pragmatic – about the commercial reality of mobiledevelopment.The Industrial Revolution era (2010-2014). The next five years will completelyremap the mobile industry landscape. RIM and Apple, two verticalised companies,move into the top five, displacing the incumbents, leaving one Finnish and twoKorean companies in pole position. The operating system landscape will consolidateinto two tiers; the top-end open to iconic products dominated by Apple and followedby the iPhone clones powered by Android; and the feature-phone market wherelicensable operating systems (Android and BREW) will finally allow handset OEMs tomove away from legacy RTOS platforms. Google’s Android will also power a diverserange of new form factors, from picture frames to car dashboards, offering for thefirst time a simplified platform from which to achieve convergent interconnectedservices. In this age of Industrial Revolution, mobile developers will be responsiblefor most of the innovation on mobile devices, and can act independently from themobile industry powers-that-be – OEMs or network operators – to get theirapplications to market. In this age, developers have both power and choice. © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 9
  • 10. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondThe disparity between devices and applicationsMobile developers have a choice today; they can choose a platform among the manyavailable. The key technical and marketing characteristics of these platforms are verydiverse across installed base, number of apps, learning curve, development tools andrevenue potential.One of the major disparities is between the device installed base and the number ofapps per platform. One would expect that the platforms deployed on the largestnumber of devices would have the biggest number of applications. This couldn’t befurther away from the truth. For example, Java ME is available on around threebillion handsets, but the platform can boast less than half of the apps available for themuch younger Android, shipped in only 20 million devices as of the end of the secondhalf of 2010. Similarly, the Symbian operating system is deployed in around 390million handsets (end of first half of 2010), and claims over 6,000 apps, while Apple’siOS has achieved 30x more apps over just 60M units. @489A4%B;/<-::4C%D-/4%=4/<E%>&%&$+$?% 012345%67%-../%-8-9:-3:4%9;%-..%/<654/%=>&%&$+$?% ,#$% FG239-;% !"#$$% !$% 9HI6;4% &&"$$$% =9JF?% &$% K;C569C% (&"$$$% ,$$$% L-8-%MN% )"$$$% ++$% D:-AOD455G% ("*$$% +")$$% P:-/I% "$$$% Q9<4% R9;C6S/% (% +,"$$% 29::96;%1;9</% HI6;4% -../% ,$$% ,$$$% &$$% &$$$% +$$% +$$$% $$% $% $% $"$$$% +$$"$$$% +$"$$$% &$$"$$$% &$"$$$% F615A4T%M639:4%@484:6.45%NA6;629A/%&$+$%-;C%D4G6;CE%H56C1A4C%3G%U9/96;M639:4E%F.6;/654C%3G%V4:476;9A-%@484:6.45%W6221;9X4/E%% L1;4%&$+$E%Q9A4;/4C%1;C45%W54-X84%W6226;/%KY5931X6;%,E$%Q9A4;/4E%K;G%1/4%65%5429Z%67%<I9/%S65O%21/<%54<-9;%<I9/%;6XA4E%These disparities stem from the origins of the two ecosystems; on the left hand side ofthe chart, the embedded software industry ecosystem has focused on enablinghandset OEMs to differentiate, while on the right hand side, the Internet/PCecosystem has focused on enabling developers to differentiate. The speed of evolutionof these two ecosystems is worlds part; since 2008, the number of applications forthe younger iPhone and Android platforms has skyrocketed compared to those forthe incumbent Symbian and Java ME platforms.The migration of developer mindshareIn stock market terms, developer mindshare is oneof the hottest “commodities” in the mobile “The [J2ME] platformbusiness, one whose “stock price” has ballooned in has not evolved over thethe last two years. Platform vendors, handsetOEMs, network operators, hardware vendors, and years and it isinfrastructure providers all want to contribute to stagnating.”mobile apps innovation. Yet, there are no “stock-markets” for buying developer mindshare, and Java ME Developer,very few commercial bridges or matchmakers exist India-based software housebetween mobile developers and the mobileindustry, or between mobile developers and media brands. © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 10
  • 11. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondIn general, software developers have a high affinity “Most Windows Phonetoward their mobile platform, and high switching developers have startedbarriers exist, due to emotional attachment to theirplatform and the time they have invested in it. developing for the iPhone – question is whetherIn the last two years, a mindshare migration has they will go back totaken place for mobile developers away from theincumbent platforms Symbian, Java ME and developing for WindowsWindows Phone, while a substantial number of PC Phone. Half of thesoftware developers have flocked to iPhone and Microsoft WindowsAndroid. The large minority (20-25 percent) of Phone MVPs have anSymbian respondents who sell their apps via iPhoneand Android app stores reveals the brain-drain that iPhone.”is taking place towards these newer platforms. The Anonymousvast majority of Java ME respondents have lost faith Microsoft mobile devices MVPin the write-once-run-anywhere vision. Moreover,anecdotal developer testimonials suggest that half ofWindows Phone MVP developers (valued for theircommitment to the platform) carry an iPhone and “It feels like we ’re back inwould think twice before re-investing in Windows the dot com era. EveryonePhone. wants an iPhoneIf we ascribe value according to developer application.”mindshare, or the number of developers who haveexperimented or worked on any single mobile Siddhart Agarwal,platform, we find that Android has the highest CEO, Mobiculevaluation. Our survey findings suggest thatAndroid is the single platform that the most mobiledevelopers have experience with.In our study, respondents were asked to base their “Android is better thananswers on one of eight mobile platforms (up to two other platforms in termsresponses were allowed per developer, each on a of tools, platformdifferent platform). Among developers taking thesurvey as iPhone developers, 56 percent had features, and it’s easier torecently worked on Android as well, while on the stand out as a developer.”contrary only 42 percent of those responding asAndroid developers had recently worked on iPhone. Aamir Yassen, Grand Prize winner ofThe next chart ranks each platform according to the Nokias Calling All Innovatorslevel of experience developers had on each platform. Mobile Application Competition 2009By normalising responses to 100 developers acrosseach of the eight major platforms in our survey, itaims to show what the results might have been had we surveyed an equal number ofdevelopers on each of the major platforms.One can easily see that Android stands out as the top platform according to developerexperience, with close to 60 percent of developers having recently developed onAndroid, assuming an equal number of developers with experience on each of eightmajor platforms. iOS (iPhone) follows closely as the next most popular platform,outranking both Symbian and Java ME, which until 2008 were in pole position.We believe that Android’s lead in developer mindshare ahead of Apple’s iOS is downto two factors: first the $99 fee developers have to pay in order to deploy theirapplications, an entry barrier which reduces the innovation from developingcountries. Secondly, the very effective use of open source licensing as a marketingtechnique to attract developers to Google’s Android. © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 11
  • 12. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond (70Q%$5=5%=@A=*#645%6&7*#*1*7%N*$=&"*0$74HEGE !"#$%&# &()%"*+&,-. /01023 -456&0" 5%6&7*8*6 970:;9*$$4 <&"#%8=()%"* >70=)%$>70=)?&@* ?&"AB 9C3<%$9C3<2( -05=A"D90#0 (075<*6,- (075,- F$*=N%"#*"@="%$507&=*#0:$%==O50P%$N70Q%$5= EF GEF HEF IEF JEF KEF LEF MEF -%A$:*R2%6&7*S*1*7%N*$3:%"%5&:=HEGE0"#9*4%"#T($%#A:*#64U&=&%"2%6&7*T-N%"=%$*#64V*7*W%"&:0S*1*7%N*$X%55A"&Y*=T /A"*HEGET?&:*"=*#A"#*$X$*0Y1*X%55%"=!Z$&6AY%"ITE?&:*"=*T!"4A=*%$$*5&B%W@)&=8%$;5A=@$*@0&"@)&="%Y:*TiPhone/iOS and Android platform adoption have benefited from positive-feedback-loop effects; media and consumer brands are eager to leverage iPhone, iPad orAndroid applications as a means of acquiring new customers, as part of a multi-channel marketing strategy, or simply to add new revenue streams.Software development firms have been inundated with requests for iOS and Androidapps. “It feels like we ’re back in the dot com era. Everyone wants an iPhoneapplication, while we get very few Symbian requests these days,” recounts SiddhartAgarwal, CEO of Mobicule, a 30-strong mobile software development firm inMumbai.The success of Apple and Google in the mobile space is the main contributor to theexodus of innovation from the incumbent platforms.Our research further indicates that Flash developer mindshare seems to be in decline,despite Flash’s installed handset base of more than 1.3B devices. Adobe’s string ofexecution failures has meant that the installed base for Flash Lite is extremelyfragmented, breaking the write-once-show-anywhere story for media brands who areAdobe’s key customers. At the same time, Flash, the much-touted replacement forFlash Lite, was more than 18 months late, while Flash Lite shipments have stagnated,dropping from 43 percent to 15 percent of handsets sold from 1H09 to 2H09. Thisleaves Adobe with a rapidly shrinking window of opportunity, primarily on Androidhandsets, while having been banned from Apple’s growing empire, and slowly seeingthe adoption of HTML5, yet another replacementthreat for Flash. Past performance inDespite the investment Sun and Adobe put into device shipments is noensuring mass-deployment of Java ME and Flash indication of futureLite, they have been marginalized in terms ofdeveloper mindshare by Android and iPhone, the return in developernew kids on the block. Taking a cue from the lingo of investors, past performance in deviceshipments is no indication of future return, where © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 12
  • 13. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyonddeveloper mindshare is concerned. “TechnicalPalm’s WebOS is familiar to fewer than five percent considerations areof mainstream platform developers, based on our irrelevant. The choice ofplatform-normalised sample of 400+ respondents.But is HP’s acquisition of Palm able to increase the platform is ALWAYSrelevance of WebOS to application developers? On marketing-driven.”one hand HP, the number two PC manufacturer interms of industry profit share according to Deutsche Christophe Lassus, Founder & DirectorBank, might inject enough capital to help propel flirtymob.comWebOS into an effective competitor to Android. Onthe other hand, the marriage of HP and Palm misseson key synergies; Web OS won’t offer HP clearconsumer differentiation, developer mindshare or operator subsidies, as we noted ina recent article. As a result we remain pessimistic on the future of Palm’s Web OS.Commercial savvy and market penetrationMost developers work on multiple platforms, on average 2.8 platforms per developer,based on our sample of 400 respondents. Moreover, one in five iPhone and Androidrespondents release apps in both the Apple App Store and Android Market.The question is: in a market crowded with software platforms, how do developerschoose between iOS, Android, Symbian, Java ME, BlackBerry, Flash, WindowsPhone, mobile web, WebOS or Samsung Bada? For today’s mobile developer, marketpenetration and revenue potential are hands down the two most important reasonsfor selecting a platform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arge market penetration was chosen by 75 percent of respondents across each of theeight major platforms we surveyed. Revenue potential was the second mostimportant reason, chosen by over half of respondents. In fact, market penetrationand revenue potential were more important than any single technical reason forselecting a platform, revealing how mobile developers today are savvy about theeconomic implications of mobile development. © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 13
  • 14. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondThe availability of a large developer community ranked fourth among marketingreasons for choosing a platform. It’s worth noting that the more experienced adeveloper, the less important they view the developer community.We should also note how few developers acknowledge that they choose a platformbecause their boss said so. Given that freelancers and students comprised only 20percent of our respondent sample, one might have expected more developers tochoose this option.Emotional biasDespite the commercial savvy and rationalism, there is a lingering emotional biastowards developers’ chosen platform. This is evident from two data points. Across alleight major mobile platforms surveyed, respondents felt that the best aspect of theirplatform was their large market penetration, even if the actual market penetrationdid not bear this out. The emotional bias was also evident when we asked what typeof mobile apps will prevail in the next two years. Most developers chose the answerthat included their platform; most Android, Symbian and iPhone developers selected"native apps" as prevailing, while mobile web developers chose "web apps" and Flashdevelopers mostly chose "cross-platform apps". Note that we consider Android as a‘native’ operating system as Android apps cannot be ported on other operatingsystems.The only developers who thought that the grass is greener on the other side of thefence were Java ME developers, of whom only a fraction believed in the future ofcross platform apps. One could say that the vast majority of Java ME developers havelost faith in the write-once-run-anywhere vision.One thing is clear; developer needs are extremely The vast majority ofvaried by platform, and in some cases by region.Anyone wanting to attract and retain developer Java ME developersmindshare needs to build a two-way channel of have lost faith in thecommunication to understand what the ‘qualifiers’ are write-once-run-versus the ‘decision clenchers’ for mobile developers. anywhere vision © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 14
  • 15. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondPart 2Taking Applications to Market ww © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 15
  • 16. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondPart 2. Taking Applications to MarketIn this chapter we analyse the developer experience as the application goes to market:planning, testing, certification, submission to market channel (e.g. an app store),shelf placement, promotion, payment and revenue generation.The decline of traditional go-to-market channelsDevelopers have a variety of channels through which to distribute their applications.Yet market channels that were once mainstream pre-2008 are now taking only asmall chunk of the go-to-market pie for mobile apps. Operator portals and on-devicepreloading through OEM or operator deals is the primary channel to market for fewerthan five percent of mobile developers. Our findings show that developers resort toeither ‘native’ app stores, or to direct download via their own websites, followed inthird position by the traditional model of bespoke app development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he preferred go-to-market channel for applications varies significantly by platform.The vast majority of iPhone respondents designate an app store as their primarychannel for selling apps, followed by around 50 percent of the Android and Flashdevelopers. The most popular channel for Windows Phone developers is directdownload via the developer’s own web site. That almost half go this route hints at thelack of effective go-to-market channels for Windows Phone apps. This dwarfs thepercentages of iPhone and Android respondents who use this channel (10 percenteach), since those two platforms have very prominent native app stores.The app store phenomenonIf there’s a single reason for the mass-entrance of developers into the mobile market,it is app stores. We view app stores as direct developer-to-consumer channels, i.e.commercial conduits that streamline the submission, pricing, distribution andretailing of applications to consumers. For a breakdown of key ingredients in the appstore recipe, see our Mobile Megatrends 2010 report. App stores have streamlined © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 16
  • 17. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyondthe route to market for mobile applications, a route that was previously laden withobstacles, such as lack of information, complex submission and certificationprocesses, low revenue shares and regional fragmentation.Despite the hype, there is sporadic use of app stores outside the Apple and Androidplatforms. Only four percent of Java respondents used App Stores as their primarychannel to market. Windows Phone and mobile web developers find app stores littlemore relevant, with fewer than 10 percent of such respondents using one as a primarychannel for taking applications to market.This contrasts completely with platforms that have ‘native’ app stores. Over 95percent of iPhone respondents use the Apple App Store as their primary channel,while the percentage of Android respondents using Android Market is just below 90.Besides the mainstream use of native app stores by Android and iPhone developers, asmall outlier of developers use alternative app stores, such as SlideMe for Android, orCydia Store for iPhone. The findings also reveal a circa 20 percent cross-pollinationof platforms, i.e. iPhone developers producing Android applications and vice-versa.In terms of the incumbent mobile platforms, around 75 percent of Symbianrespondents that use app stores, use the Nokia Ovi Store. The significant number(20-25 percent) of Symbian developers who also use iPhone and Android app storesreveals the brain-drain that is taking place towards these newer platforms. This is aparticularly critical migration of developer mindshare, considering that the Symbianplatform is the hardest to master. Thus, the size of developer investments onSymbian being written off is substantial.Java ME respondents utilise GetJar most often, followed by Nokia’s Ovi Store and thetraditional route of operator portals for retailing Java applications.For BlackBerry and Windows Phone developers that use app stores, native app storesare used by over 65 percent, with outliers using Handango, Handmark and Mobihandto retail their apps. The main cross-platform App Stores, Handango and GetJar, wereused by an average of just over 10 percent of respondents across the eight majorplatforms.The next set of charts reveal the top three app storesused by developers on each platform – in many “App stores like Ovi storecases suggesting that developers are investing in should be promoted tomultiple platforms. people in rural areasBesides the growth of apps, app stores are the (India) where there is acornerstone of another major transformation that large opportunity andhas taken place in the mobile industry: the mass- they should bemarket use of mobile as the next marketing channel trained/informed aboutbeyond the Internet. We would argue that it was appstores that triggered the influx of apps – not the downloading apps, usageopen source nature of Android, or the consumer sex etc.”appeal of the iPhone. Kishore Karanala, Senior Software Engineer, Teleca India © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 17
  • 18. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond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© VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 18
  • 19. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondApp stores triggered the sheer growth in app numbers and diversity that led to thecliché, “there’s an app for that”. Another cliché, “the screen is the app,” tells the otherhalf of the story. Combined, the app store and touchscreen were the two essentialingredients behind mobile apps as the next mass-market channel beyond theInternet. These two ingredients inspired just about every media and service companyto commission companion or revenue-driven apps as extensions to their traditionalonline channels. In effect, this phenomenon fuelled the app economy, even beyondwhat app store numbers alone suggest.Time-to-shelf and time-to-paymentApp stores have revolutionised time to market for applications. To research exactlyhow radically the time to market for applications has changed since the introductionof app stores, we analysed two parameters: • the time to shelf, i.e. how long it takes from submitting an application to that application being available for purchase • the time to payment, i.e. the length of time between an application being sold and the proceeds reaching the developer’s bank accountOur findings show that app stores have reduced the average time-to-shelf by twothirds: from 68 days across traditional channels, to 22 days via an app store. Thesetraditional channels have been suffering from long, proprietary and fragmentedprocesses of application certification, approval, targeting and pricing, all of whichneed to be established via one-to-one commercial agreements.For example, placing an application on an operator portal takes more than twomonths, due to the inflexibility of operator processes that are not designed withsmaller developers in mind. Moreover, to preload an application on a handset takesmore than three months. Meanwhile, three to six months before launch is the typicaltimeframe for pre-loaded applications that are customised by an operator or thirdparty. As we shall see, it actually takes even longer to get paid for pre-loadedapplications, since royalty pay-outs by the operator or OEM are typically delayed by afew more months, which represents the time the handsets spend in the channel.Time-to-shelf also varies greatly per platform; our findings show Apple’s iOS as thefastest platform for taking applications to market, at 24 days time-to-shelf,irrespective of route to market. Windows Phone is almost on par with Android interms of average time-to-shelf. This may come as a surprise, given that 64 percent ofAndroid developers using an app store report that their apps take less than one weekto reach the shelf. However, the majority of Windows Phone developers make appsavailable via their own websites, or direct to the customer who is commissioning theapplication, and both of these routes to market are also fairly fast. Symbianapplications are by far the hardest to take to market, taking on average over 52 daysto reach the shelf from the time of submission – at the opposite end of the spectrumfrom iPhone applications.Our research shows how app stores have shortened the time for taking applications tothe virtual shelf by two thirds, compared to traditional channels. How about the timeit takes for developers to get paid, though? Too often, this is a make-or-breakquestion for mobile developers, as payment delays have a negative impact on cashflow. For small developer shops, poor cash flow can break the bank. © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 19
  • 20. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond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or developers choosing an app store to retail their apps, almost 60 percent get paidwithin a month from the sale of the application. In contrast, when using traditionalchannels, the time-to-payment increases substantially. On average it takes 55 days toget paid via an operator channel, 69 days when preloading an app via an operator anda whooping 168 days (5.5 months) when pre-loading an app via a handsetmanufacturer.All in all, app stores reduce the time-to-payment by more than half; from 82 days onaverage in the case of traditional channels, to 36 days on average with app stores.The bigger picture that emerges is that the developer’s choice of platform impacts thetime-to-market for applications, i.e. the length of time from completing anapplication to getting the first revenues in. The iOS platform is fastest to go to marketwith, particularly thanks to Apple’s streamlined App Store process, while Java MEand Symbian are the slowest,due to the sluggishness of the traditional routes tomarket used by these developers (in particular via commissioned apps and own-website downloads).Revenue models and monetisationMobile applications have evolved greatly from the days when the first mobileplatforms (Symbian, Java ME and BREW) were introduced in 2001-2 – both from atechnology as well as a commercial standpoint. Commercially, the routes to markethave been radically streamlined, as we discussed earlier, but revenue models haveseen only incremental change; pay-per-download (as introduced by Qualcomm’sBREW circa 2002) is by far the most popular revenue model used by applicationdevelopers today, followed by one-off development fees for custom apps.Our research shows that the choice of revenue model for mobile developers is aquestion of the channel to market, as shown on the next graphs. © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 20
  • 21. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond- App store applications are monetised primarily through pay-per-download models(used by two thirds of respondents) and secondarily through ads or one-off fees forcustom applications.- Apps distributed via web portals (developer, third-party or operator portals) utiliseeither a pay-per-download revenue model or subscriptions, with ad-funded and one-off development fees being less favoured.- Apps preloaded on-device by operators or handset OEMs are typically monetisedvia per-unit device royalties, plus some form of NRE fee (non-recurring engineeringor similar one-off fees). For OEM deals, support fees are typically charged.Meanwhile, for operator deals, per-active-user revenue models are employed, inwhich the application bundling is typically free, but the operator pays a higher fee foreach active user of the application.- Commissioned apps are typically monetised through one-off fees, with support andcustomisation fees also being common.Ad-funded models are only secondary sources of revenue employed in app store andportal-based channels. Despite the hype, our research found use of ad-funded modelslagging much behind tried and tested pay-per-download models. Subscriptionmodels mainly apply when the application is distributed via an operator or contentaggregator portal; subscription models have made very few inroads into app stores.We should also point out that based on our survey findings, the per-active-userrevenue model, despite having been much talked about in software circles as the nextstep in the evolution of software monetisation, is in practice used only in operatordevice-preload deals. However, we do maintain an optimistic outlook toward thelong-term adoption of per-active-user revenue models, as these can be directlypassed onto users as subscription fees, and therefore aligned with operator (andservice provider) incentives. © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 21
  • 22. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond !"#$%$&()*$+",-.$/"&$+"01-$,(-"#&.$2#&$+3&45$673))-8$ <##$J5"&.$ F0.15$G";)-"3,$ 93:$#&$ 93:$#&$ ,";)-"3,$ ,";)-"3,$ <,=/*),,$ <,=/*),,$ <##$.5"&$3),$#"&53-$03.,$ >)=3##$ H)="I$/$ #*&673.$ @$"/$&.#"),)5.$ @$"/$&.#"),)5.$ ?@$ A?@$ B?@$ C?@$ D?@$ E??@$ ?@$ A?@$ B?@$ C?@$ D?@$ E??@$ !71&,$#3&5:$3LL&L35"&$ H#&35"&M63&&1&$#"&53-$ 93:$#&$ 93:$#&$ ,";)-"3,$ ,";)-"3,$ J*0.6&1#K")$ J*0.6&1#K")$ <,=/*),,$ H)="I$/$ @$"/$&.#"),)5.$ @$"/$&.#"),)5.$ ?@$ A?@$ B?@$ C?@$ D?@$ E??@$ ?@$ A?@$ B?@$ C?@$ D?@$ E??@$ G(16$#&-"3,$(13$"#&35"&$ G(16$#&-"3,$(13$HNO$ 9&=,(16$ 9&=,(16$ H)=,(16$#&-"3,$ &":3-K.$ &":3-K.$ H)="I$/$ J*##"&5$/.$ 9&=36K(=*.&$ H)="I$/$ /.$ @$"/$&.#"),)5.$ @$"/$&.#"),)5.$ ?@$ A?@$ B?@$ C?@$ D?@$ E??@$ ?@$ A?@$ B?@$ C?@$ D?@$ E??@$ P"++1..1"),$3##.$ H)="I$/$ P"++1.1"),$ J*##"&5$/.$ 93:$#&$ ,";)-"3,$ @$"/$&.#"),)5.$ ?@$ A?@$ B?@$ C?@$ D?@$ E??@$ J"*&6Q$O"01-$G(-"#&$N6")"+16.$A?E?$3),$R:"),S$9&",*6,$0:$T1.1")O"01-S$J#")."&,$0:$!-/")163$G(-"#&$P"++*)1K.S$$ U*)$A?E?S$V16).,$*),&$P&3K($P"++").$<W&10*K")$%S?$V16).S$<):$*.$"&$&+1X$"/$571.$;"&4$+*.5$&531)$571.$)"K6S$ © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 22
  • 23. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondPlanning an applicationApplication planning is a core part of taking an application to market. Our researchconfirms that planning techniques are near-ubiquitous for application developers.Over 90 percent of respondents use some form of technique for deciding on the targetuser segment or planning application features. The key exception is companies thatengage in bespoke app development, and are contracted to execute specificrequirements where feature or segment planning is not part of the project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nternal beta testing is the most popular technique used by the vast majority (nearly70 percent) of respondents, with beta testing with users and peer reviewing the nextmost popular techniques. Only 20 percent of respondents use focus groups orresearch of their own. Overall, North American developers are somewhat moresophisticated in their application planning, with 97 percent using beta testing as astandard part of application development and with broader use of a portfolio ofplanning techniques as well.Yet, small development firms have limited means today tobeta test and peer review their applications with a cross- “Its like going to asection of representative users. Given the hundreds of record store withthousands of mobile apps, we believe that efficient(crowd-sourced) testing of apps in a global market of 200,000 CDs. You’llusers is considerably under-utilized. . This presents an only look at the top-opportunity for the few solution providers in this segment 10.”– Mob4Hire and, for example – but also fornetwork operators, who can generate a channel for testing Christopher Kassulke,applications with end users, and provide an open CEO, HandyGames,feedback support system back to developers.Challenges with taking applications to marketApplication distribution may be going through a renaissance period that began in2008, with the direct-to-consumer model pioneered by Apple’s App Store. However,taking applications to market is still plagued with numerous teething problems, as istypical with nascent technology. There are four recurring issues reported bydevelopers: app exposure, app submission (and certification), low revenue share andthe challenges with app localisation. © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 23
  • 24. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondChallenge 1. Application exposureOur survey found the number one issue for mobile developers to be the lack ofeffective marketing channels to increase application exposure, discovery andtherefore customer acquisition. This was an issue mostly for Flash and iPhonedevelopers, followed by Symbian, Android and Java ME developers. Developersreported persistent challenges with getting traffic, customer visibility or in short“being seen”. One developer put it succinctly: “Its like going to a record store with200,000 CDs. You’ll only look at the top-10.”The exposure bottleneck is new in mobile, but an age-old problem in fast movingconsumer goods (FMCG). With such large volumes of applications in stock, appstores are taking on the role of huge supermarkets or record stores. As in any FMCGmarket, app developers have to invest in promoting their products above the noise,because supermarkets won’t.Our research shows that in 2010, developers are relatively unsophisticated inmarketing their applications. More than half of developers surveyed use free demosand a variety of social media, i.e. the de facto techniques for application promotion.Other techniques cited were magazines and influencing analysts or journalists, whilepromotion through tradeshows was also deemed popular among a fifth ofrespondents. Less than 30 percent of respondents invest in traditional marketingmedia such as online advertising or professional PR services.When asked about what type of marketing support they would be willing to pay for,our survey found half of respondents willing to pay for premium app store placement.This willingness varies greatly by platform, however; developers whose platformfeatures a ‘native’ app store (iPhone, Android and to a lesser extent Symbian) arealmost twice as likely to pay for premium app storeplacement, compared with developers whose “In past efforts with thirdplatforms do not (Java and mobile web) as well as party apps Nokia hasWindows Phone. This finding indicates that direct-to- been much too lenientconsumer distribution channels are necessarilycrowded and therefore developers will be willing to towards piracy.”pay a premium to be able to stand out from the crowd Sander Van der Wal,– much like how FMCG brands pay for premium shelf Owner, mBrain Software,space in supermarkets.Yet with free applications being the norm, developershave to become more creative with promotion and advertising; free applicationsmake up more than half of the Android Market catalogue and 25 percent of the AppleApp Store catalogue, according to different reports by Distimo and AndroLib.There are two types of solutions emerging to cover the market gap of applicationpromotional services. Firstly, there are app discovery and recommendation startups(e.g. Apppopular, Appolicious, Appsfire, Apprupt, Chorus, Mplayit and Yappler),which help users discover applications based on their past preferences or on explicitrecommendations from the user’s social circle. Secondly, there are white label appstore providers like Ericsson that are moving to app mall (shop-in-shop)infrastructure. App malls will allow the creation of 1,000s of application mini-stores,each targeted to niche sub-segments, much like Amazon mini-stores.However, the gap in application marketing services is widening in 2010 due to therapid growth in application volume, which is outpacing the appearance of appdiscovery and recommendation solutions. We believe that application marketing andretailing services remain the biggest opportunity in mobile applications today. The © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 24
  • 25. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyondopportunity is particularly fit for network operators, who have a great level of insightinto their customer segments (incl. age bracket, spend bracket and roaming profile)and can offer segment targeting for mobile applications as a service to developers.Challenge 2. Application submission and certification.Application submission and certification are two ofthe top five challenges for mobile developers, “The whole signingaccording to our survey. process and itsOverall, the most important issue related to implications are thecertification that was raised by nearly 40 percent of biggest threat to J2MErespondents is its cost. In some cases, developersreport that the certification cost rises to a few in the future… no onehundred dollars per app certification (not per app). but the signingSuch economics do not work for low-cost apps, but authorities benefit.”only for mega-application productions. Javadevelopers, for example, report that Java Signed is Steven Jankelowitz,impractical; developers have to purchase separate Java developercertificates based on the certificate authorityinstalled on the handset – and certificates areexpensive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oreover, 31 percent of respondents believe that approval of the application takestoo long, while 30 percent think that signing applications is complicated.Signing the application was a challenge for one third of the Symbian and Androidrespondents that certified their apps. For iPhone respondents this issue was muchless important, since only 15 percent of them reported it as such. © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 25
  • 26. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondFor iPhone developers, the key challenge was not thecost of certification, but the length of time it took for “[Apple’s App Store has]their apps to be approved, as well as the opacity of unwritten rules forthe approval process, according to anecdotal certifying apps”reports. Others cited the lack of transparency in theacceptance process, which is subject to “Apples iPhone developerwhims,” or based on unclear acceptance criteria inthe case of Java ME.Challenge 3. Dubious long-tail economicsThe mobile app economy is nothing short of hyped from the successes that have comeinto the limelight – the $1m per month brought in by the Tap Tap Revenge socialapp, or the $125K in monthly ad revenues reported by BackFlip Studios on theirPaper Toss app. Yet the economics for long-tail developers – i.e. the per-capita profitfor the average developer – remain dubious at best.At least 25 percent of Symbian, Flash, Windows Phone and Java ME respondentsreported low revenue share as one of the key go-to-market challenges. Most appstores are still playing catch-up to Apple in terms of the revenue share they arepaying out to the developer. As one developer put it, “There has been a bastardisationof the 70/30 rule which has been mis-marketed by app stores; for example with OviStore, where operators often get 50 percent of the retail price, so developers gets 70percent [of the remainder]”. Unsurprisingly, the revenue share was not a majorchallenge for iPhone or BlackBerry respondents.Moreover, less than 25 percent of respondents stated that revenue potential was oneof the best factors of their platform; on average revenue potential ranked last among“best aspects” of each platform, showing how mobile software development is stillplagued by poor monetisation in 2010.The dubious long-tail economics are reinforced by “There has been aour findings on developer revenue expectations.Only five percent of the respondents reported very bastardisation of thegood revenues, above their expectations, while 24 70/30 rule which haspercent said their revenues were poor. Note that we been mis-marketed bydidn’t poll for absolute revenues, because of the App Stores”discrepancies across regions, different revenuemodels and distance of developers from revenue Flash Lite developerreporting.At the same time, there is a general consensus ofoptimism; 27 percent of respondents said that theirrevenues were as projected, while another 36 percent said they should be reachingtheir revenue targets.There are two effects at play that make for poor long-tail economics. Firstly, thenumber of ‘garage developers’ who are creating apps for fun or peer recognition butnot money; and secondly, the noise created by the ‘app crowd’ which promptsdevelopers to drop prices in order to rise to the top of their pack.There are also platform-specific effects: the unpredictability of revenues, in the caseof the Apple’s pick-and-choose culture for featured apps; and, the limitations of paidapp support for Android, where paid applications are only available to users in 13countries out of 46 countries where Android Market is available, as of June 2010.Android has also been jokingly called a “download, buy, and return business”, © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 26
  • 27. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyondreferring to how you can get a refund for any paid Android application withoutstating a reason within 24 hours of purchase – a policy that allows many users toexploit the system. In addition, the applications that are published on Androidmarket are not curated by Google, resulting in 100s of applications that are lowquality or are infringing copyright, thereby making it harder for quality, paid apps tomake money. Even in economically healthier ecosystems like Apple’s App Store, astandalone developer can hope to sell in total an average of 1,000-2,000 copies of anapplication at an average price of $1.99, which is barely justifying the many man-months of effort that it takes to develop a mobile application by today’s standards. B"C".D"%"E/"1+-F.6%G#%*H:<"%("C"</"#6%;,%6"<<%+,":#%-//6% 9#2%7?4% @+,"#2%A4% 9#*:6:.&%)%;:<<%#"-1,% +-#&"+2%=>4% !"#$%&(%)%*#"%+,-.% /#0"1+"(2%34% 5(%)%-6%/#0"1+"(2%784% ID#1"J%KH:<"%L"C"</"#%M1.*:16%7NON%-.(%P"$.(Q%9#(D1"(%H$%!:6:.KH:<"Q%I/.6#"(%H$%R"<"G.:1-%L"C"</"#%S**D.:F"6Q%% TD."%7NONQ%U:1".6"(%D.("#%S#"-FC"%S**.6%VW#:HDF.%=QN%U:1".6"Q%V.$%D6"%#%#"*:E%G%+,:6%;#X%*D6+%#"+-:.%+,:6%.F1"Q%We maintain that the monetisation potential for the long tail of apps won’t berealised until effective policies are put in place to curtail the adoption of free apps –for example by enforcing a minimum $0.01 app price. Psychology experiments haveproven time and time again how our perception of value is distorted when the pricedrops to zero. It is time for app store owners to borrow from cognitive psychology tohelp boost the long-tail developer economy, rather than compete on number ofdownloads.Challenge 4. Localisation.Another issue highlighted was the lack of localised apps. One developer saidcharacteristically, “There is a big problem for developers in markets with lowpenetration of English as a second language. Since the platforms are poorly adjustedto localisation, the costs of development grow and thus profitability andattractiveness [drop]. It would be great to see platforms that take action towardseasing the challenge of localisation.” The lack of localised apps for non-Englishmarkets is exacerbated for Android. A search on AndroLib reveals that out of theapproximately 60,000 apps on Android Market, there are only about 1,400 appslocalised in Spanish and only 1,800 localised in French, as of early June 2010.The lack of localised apps on Android presents the number one opportunity foralternative app stores like SlideMe, AndAppStore and Mobihand, i.e. to attractcommunities of regional app developers, or to facilitate localisation of apps todifferent languages – in other words, to reach where Android Market doesn’t reach. © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 27
  • 28. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondPart 3The Building Blocks of Mobile Applications © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 28
  • 29. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondPart 3. The Building Blocks of Mobile ApplicationsIn this chapter we analyse the developer experience during the many touchpoints ofapplication development; learning the platform, coding and debugging theapplication, building the UI and getting support. We finally look at issues around theadoption of open source.The fun side of mobile developmentContrary to traditional marketing acumen, developers still care about the ‘experience’and ‘fun’ of developing, as opposed to purely taking an interest in the marketability orrevenue potential arising from a platform.The most important technical reason for selecting a platform was "Quick to code andprototype", selected by almost half of respondents. This finding highlights how the‘fun’ aspect of software development (trying things out and getting results quickly) ismost important to mobile developers.We also found that iPhone and Flash developers ranked a platforms ability to buildapps with great UIs two times as high, compared to their peers. The inverse is alsotelling – Symbian and Windows Phone are less appreciative at the importance of UIfor mobile apps. Moreover, developers who are new to mobile tend to deem beingable to build apps with great UIs to be much more important than do moreexperienced developers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© VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 29
  • 30. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondThe varying characteristics of the mobile development “Mobile web is theexperience surfaced in our survey when we askedabout the best aspects of each platform. Android, easiest platform toFlash and mobile web respondents were impressed by learn, adapt andtheir platforms ability to code and prototype quickly.iPhone respondents were mostly happy with iOSs develop for, esp. for aability to create a great user experience for their apps. company that does notLastly, Windows Phone respondents were pleasedwith the platforms emulator and debugger. have a background in mobile development.”The pains with mobile development mobile web developerBigger discrepancies in the development experienceacross platforms surfaced when we asked whatdevelopers hate most about their platform.The ability to build compelling UIs is still far from the reach of most mobiledevelopers. Around 50 out of 100 Symbian, BlackBerry and Windows Phone per-platform respondents are annoyed with the difficulty in creating great UIs.The other key dislikes cited across platforms were the app porting experience, limitedhardware API support and the complexities of code development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espondents focusing on the Java platform are the most dissatisfied with theirplatform, lamenting its limited hardware API support, the challenges in porting appsand the difficulty in creating great UIs. Java developers also seem disillusioned withthe promise of cross-platform support; most Java developers thought that the futureof app development lies in native, not cross-platform environments.A CEO at a games development house reported how the Java apps market is onlysuited for the short-head (as opposed to the long-tail) of developers: “You need tocustomise [your app] for 1,000+ variants and operator customisations.” Hecontinued to explain how the mindshare shift to Android and iPhone are causing © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 30
  • 31. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondJava apps to stagnate: “Two years ago, network operators reviewed 20-30 new [Java]titles a week. Now they are down to five titles a week. There is not enough [Java]content [available].”Symbian developers find it challenging to create great UIs, and are also dissatisfiedwith the long development times needed to create apps in Symbian. In contrast, theycomplain the least about both hardware and user data API access.It comes as no surprise that iPhone respondents have the least number of reasons tobe dissatisfied with their platform. The only factor that troubles them to a limitedextent (30 percent of respondents) was the need to port their apps. Hardly anyiPhone respondents complained about the App Store, the revenue potential or thenumber of iPhones in the market.Finally, Android developers are a little concerned about the platforms low devicecount and, to a lesser extent, tech support & documentation, the challenges of portingapps and the difficulty of creating great UIs.Learning curve and development experienceThe learning curve of mobile platforms varies widely, a consequence of varied designobjectives. At the two opposite ends of the spectrum are Symbian, a platformconceived in the mid-90s for embedded devices, and Android, a platform designed inthe mid-90s for developing connected applications for mass-market smartphones.Our research confirms that Symbian is by far the toughest platform to learn, withresponses indicating that on average the Symbian platform takes 15 months or moreto learn, compared to an average of 7.5 months for other mobile platforms. The slowlearning curve on Symbian has a direct impact on the higher resource investmentsmade by mobile software firms to cultivate or hire expensive Symbian talent. At atime when the demand for Android and iPhone custom development is booming, thecost of Symbian investments is getting harder to justify for software firms.Diametrically opposite to Symbian is Android, which is the easiest platform to learn,taking on average less than six months. Twenty-two percent of Android respondents state that ittook them less than a month to learn the “Since I come from aintricacies of this platform. Apart from Android, Java ME background, itthe easiest platforms to master are iPhone, Flashand mobile web. was initially difficult to understand iOSs syntaxBetween the two extremes, Blackberrydevelopment takes on average 10-11 months to and language. But anylearn properly, followed by Windows Phone at developer who knows thenine months, Java ME at 8.5 months and iPhoneat just over seven months. basics can definitely pick it up.”We also analysed the coding experience throughhands-on development and debugging of nine iPhone Developer Mobicule Technologies, Indiareference applications across Symbian, iOS,Android and Java ME.Symbian emerged as needing the most tedious development effort to accomplisheven simple tasks. For developing nine typical applications, a Symbian developerneeds to write almost three times more code than an Android developer. iPhone isbased on a complex C-like programming paradigm, but its drag & drop design © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 31
  • 32. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyondenvironment allows for far more effective coding, resulting in half as much codeauthoring as Symbian. Java ME is lagging slightly behind Android in terms of theoverall coding effort. !3+$.B+D;+$+EF&$+#@%;./@+$+.70G*.H%$; !"#$%&# (%)&*+,+) -*./0 &10%"+ 2.3.(4 ,&"#%5/10%"+ 6*.786+$$9 :9;)&." < = >< >= ;%"@0/A.3+$.B+C ?< :%F$7+I(%)&*+J+3+*%G+$47%"%;&7/?<><."#6+9%"#K1$%#F7+#)9L&/&%"(%)&*+K:G%"/%$+#)9M+*+N%"&7.J+3+*%G+$O%;;F"&D+/K 2F"+?<><KP&7+"/+#F"#+$O$+.D3+O%;;%"/!Q$&)FD%"RK<P&7+"/+K!"9F/+%$$+;&S%N@0&/5%$8;F/@$+@.&"@0&/"%D7+KOur benchmarking analysis further shows that debugging on Android is faster thanon any other platform – and two times faster than debugging on Symbian. Secondrunners to Android are iPhone and Java ME, in terms of debugging effort. For detailsinto our platform benchmarks, see Appendix 2.Development environments and their challengesOur research indicated that the most prevalent issue with the developmentenvironment (IDE) is the absence of an app porting framework – particularly forSymbian and Android developers. However, it’s worth noting that the“fragmentation” problem space is targeted by a number of vendors, including J2MEPolish, Javaground, Mobile Distillery, Mobile Sorcery, OpenPlug, Recursionssoftware and Rhomobile (for a complete list of vendors providing developer tools, seeVisionMobile’s Industry Atlas on page 2 of this report).Developers further report a number of issues with the emulator and debugger, bothessential parts of the development toolkit. The single most importantemulator/debugger pain point, as chosen by more than 40 percent of respondents,was its speed. A slow-start emulator was a verycommon problem, with a whopping 60 percent ofSymbian and BlackBerry respondents reporting “What I dont like aboutthis as the main fault with their emulators, a view iOS is that there is a longalso shared by more than half of our respondentsfor Android. On the opposite end of the spectrum, signing process.. and wehardly any iPhone or mobile web respondents had need to purchase a 99this issue. dollar IDE in order toAnother common complaint across all platforms develop an application.”was that the emulator does not accurately mirrorthe target device, an issue cited by more than 25 iPhone Developerpercent of respondents across platforms. The Indiaperformance of device emulation on mobile © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 32
  • 33. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyondplatforms has improved over the years, but is still amoving target, as actual devices will always have “Theres no standarddifferences in implementation, and the latest emulator or debugger forhardware features that may not have been ‘baked’into the emulator binary. [mobile web]..and error messages are hard toAll in all, development tools are a critical componentof the development experience, but they leave a lot figure out.”to be desired. The next table summarises the four mobile web developerkey challenges in developer tools across all eightplatforms, and the degree to which they wereencountered by our survey respondents.Where do developers reach for technical support?Developer support programs vary widely across platforms. While some platformvendors have invested heavily in supportingdevelopers through official portals (e.g. Nokia andQualcomm BREW), other vendors have let the “Nothing wrong withcommunity support itself. For example, Google has XCode at all - brilliantset-up forums for Android support, but seldomresponds directly to developer queries. IDE thats very fast (esp. compared to Eclipse).”The vast majority – more than 80 percent – ofdevelopers rely on community or unofficial forums Alistair Phillips, iPhone Developerfor support during software development. Android,Java and Symbian developers are the most relianton community support. Vendor websites are usedfor support by only 40 percent of respondents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© VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 33
  • 34. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond Platform scorecard: Feature highlights in IDE and emulator/debugger by Platform Windows Symbian iOS (iPhone) Android Java ME BlackBerry Flash Lite Mobile Web Phone FeaturesReliable emulator /debugger and full IDECan code andprototype quicklyGreat user experiencefor my appsDevelopment is quirkyor time-consumingLimited hardware APIsupportDifficult to creategreat UIs IDE and EmulatorExpensive IDESlow-start emulator Key: % of respondents 1-20% 21-40% 41-60% 61-80% 81-100% Developer events are a means of getting support used by around 20 percent of respondents, with Windows Phone, mobile web and Flash developers most likely to attend events to get up to speed with their platform. On the contrary the current services offered by platform vendors, such as email or premium telephone support, are not well received by developers, with fewer than 5 percent of respondents using such services. The findings point out how the most efficient way for platform vendors to support developers is to support the communities first, and let communities support themselves. At the same time this should not be taken to the extreme, as in the case of Google, which seldom responds to direct developer queries on Android official forums. © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 34
  • 35. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondOur research uncovered further opportunities for platform vendors in paid supportprograms. Access to unpublished or ‘hidden’ APIs is a control point for platformvendors, but it is also what developers seem to be willing to pay for – in fact more sothan any other type of technical support. Almost 40 percent of respondents arewilling to pay for hidden API access, since this would offer them a competitiveadvantage or allow them to access otherwise unsupported functionality within thedevice internals. This finding suggests that platform vendors could establish tieredSDK programs, where privileged SDKs are available to developers on a subscriptionplan. Reaching out to support developers in this manner could create additionalrevenue streams. B$+:%"+*4&,;//102&2:*2&61I"4$&#$.$41/$0,&J1;4#&I$&J"44"%5&21&/*3&H10& !"##$%&()&*++$,,& -$."+$&/012123/$,&10&41*%$0& /0150*6,& #.*%+$#&2114,& 7*,2820*+9&2$+:&,;//102& <=>:&0$,/1%,$?& 7*,2820*+9&+$0@A+*@1%&*%#& *//01.*4& ++$,,&21&#$.$41/$0& /0150*6& 7;2;0$&/4*%,&*%#&01*#6*/,& B$+:%"+*4&#1+;6$%2*@1%& G&1H&0$,/1%#$%2,& C& D& EC& ED& =C& =D& FC& FD& >C& >D& DC& K1;0+$L&M1I"4$&-$.$41/$0&N+1%16"+,&=CEC&*%#&O$31%#P&(01#;+$#&I3&Q","1%M1I"4$P&K/1%,10$#&I3&B$4$H1%"+*&-$.$41/$0&R166;%"@$,P&& S;%$&=CECP&T"+$%,$#&;%#$0&R0$*@.$&R1661%,&U0"I;@1%&FPC&T"+$%,$P&%3&;,$&10&0$6"V&1H&2:",&J109&6;,2&0$2*"%&2:",&%1@+$P&Thirty-four percent of developers surveyed seem willing to pay for device prototypesand loaner programs, a view shared irrespective of the mobile platform developersare targeting. Comparatively few developer programs today offer device loaner andtesting facilities, which are simple to set-up, yetmonetisable and essential for reducing time-to-market for applications. As such, it’s surprising that iOS, Symbian and Windowsdevice loaner programs are not widely established Phone respondents are theacross OEMs and operator developer programs most willing to pay fortoday. technical support.Another interesting insight we came to is that iOS,Symbian and Windows Phone respondents are themost willing to pay for technical support – even ifthe revenue potential offered across these platforms “Support is an issue.. takes ais very different. Symbian and Windows Phonerespondents typically work for large companies bit longer since you have to(around 40 percent of these respondents work for go through the community.”companies employing more than 100 people) – andtherefore would be more prone to getting paid Jason Delport, Paxmodeptsupport. In contrast, most iOS respondents areeither freelancers or work in small (<10 people) © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 35
  • 36. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond software shops. This finding highlights the market “[I would pay for] any kind gap of paid support services for the iPhone and iPad of tech support from developer ecosystem. Google.” Considering the importance of time to market in Slobodan Ivkovic, such a competitive environment, it is interesting to Lead Mobile Application Developer, note that only 20 percent of respondents are willing Esteh Doo to pay for fast track certification and support. Open source adoption and challenges In the 2010 shape of developer economics, the notion of open source is closely tied to mobile platforms, with Android, Symbian, MeeGo, Java ME, and WebKit using various forms of open source licensing. Within the space of just two years, open source has created the biggest disruption the mobile industry has ever seen, second only to the Apple’s iconic product series and the app store paradigm. The announcement of Google’s Android in late 2007 triggered the sale of Symbian to Nokia and the relicensing of the platform, killed off UIQ and MOAP platforms, marginalised Microsoft’s Windows Phone and set new norms for pricing mobile operating system royalties down to zero. Similarly, the WebKit browser engine, debuted in 2005 by Apple, has resulted in the exit of Teleca’s Obigo and the sale of Openwave’s browser business in 2007, which were until then the two biggest-selling browsers for mobile handsets. Today WebKit is the de facto browser engine for mid/high-end mobile handsets, shipped in more than 250 million handsets as of the end of 2009 (see Besides disrupting the operating system and browser business in the mobile industry, open source has acted as a “mindshare magnet” for tens of thousands of developers. Open source has been employed toward this aim sometimes successfully (by Google’s Android) and sometimes unsuccessfully (by Sun’s Java Phone ME project). The use of open source among mobile developers Notwithstanding its mass adoption, open source remains one of the most misunderstood topics in the mobile industry, both in terms of licensing and governance. Our research probed into two aspects of open source: its use and its challenges, both from the mobile developer perspective. !"#$#%&%&#(#)*#$+%,+#%*#-%+,$.#/%01%2%$#+*-&#-3+4% <-%&#(#)*;#-3%3)+% !73"7-%+"7**7-:%*$&,.3+% !"#-%.-3$78,9-:%3%.;;,-79#+% 561% !"#$ "%#$=,$.#>%?87)#%@#(#)*#$%A.-;7.+%BC6C%D-&%E#F-&G%H$&,.#&%8F%I7+7-?87)#G%=*-+$#&%8F%J#)#2-7.D%@#(#)*#$%K;;,-79#+G%%L,-#%BC6CG%M7.#-+#&%,-&#$%K$#D9(#%K;;-+%NO$78,9-%5GC%M7.#-+#G%N-F%,+#%$%$#;7P%2%3"7+%Q$R%;,+3%$#3D7-%3"7+%-9.#G% © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 36
  • 37. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondOn average, 86 percent of respondents who use open source at work use it withindevelopment tools such as Eclipse.The exceptions are iPhone and Windows Phonedevelopers, who are less heavy users of open source development tools. Anotherpopular use of open source is within shipping products (almost 40 percent ofrespondents). It’s worth pointing out that BlackBerry developers are by far the leastactive users of open source within shipping products, which indicates a commercialskepticism – one RIM will have to overcome as it gradually adopts open sourcesoftware within its devices starting with WebKit.Overall, developer involvement in open source correlates highly with background.Android and iPhone developers are three times more likely to lead open sourcecommunities compared to Symbian developers. This reveals the contrasting pedigreeof the two developer communities; iPhone and Android developers originate from theInternet domain where open source has existed for more than 10 years, whileSymbian developers come from the mobile domain, where open source is relativelynew.Challenges and opportunities with open sourceWe asked mobile developers what were the key drawbacks to open source and theresults are convergent. The consensus among developers pointed to open sourcelicensing: 60 percent of respondents thought that the main issue with open sourcewas the confusion created by licenses.One developer said characteristically: "Corporations are wary of the licensing termsand err on the side of caution – by avoiding open source altogether." More than 10percent of respondents went as far as to say that open source was a viral threat tosoftware companies. This presents an opportunity for organisations vying fordeveloper mindshare to provide developers with much-needed education on opensource licenses, and thereby boost their awareness and exposure among developercommunities – especially as open source remains a hot topic in mobile developmentin 2010 and beyond.Another reason cited as a drawback to open source by 25 percent of respondents isthat one cant make money with open source. One developer said characteristicallythat "its hard to convince people to pay for software," while another said, "If yourapp uses too much open source its easy to duplicate". Again, these present concernsthat will benefit from education on the commercial use of open source and how theuse of open source is in fact orthogonal to the business model, as demonstrated by10s of case studies in the mobile industry.Another often-cited downside is that opensource projects lack documentation and “Corporations are warysupport, causing delays to the development of the licensing termsand release cycles. Other developers maintainedthat liabilities arising from the use of open and err on the side ofsource software can cause unexpected costs. caution - by avoidingOther notable comments were that open source open sourceprojects lacked commercial promotionbehind them. Again, these are challenges for altogether.”which best practices exist already within OEMs Android Developerand software vendors whose management hasdefined open source policies and processes. © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 37
  • 38. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondPart 4The Role of Networks in Taking Apps to Market © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 38
  • 39. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond Part 4. The role of networks in taking apps to market Mobile developers have in recent years become a new target ‘supplier’ for network operators (“carriers,” if you live in North America). Developers are seen as the key to driving innovation within and on top of the network and helping operators profit as distributors of the most popular apps. Networks have exposed capabilities (e.g. location) for third party services since the beginning of the century, but have only done so for their major (read: multi-million- dollar) content partners. Since 2004, networks have begun exposing their network capabilities as an offering towards the 100s of mobile content developers (e.g. Orange Partner). Since 2009, networks have opened up enabler APIs to the 1000s of businesses (e.g. Telenors Mobilt Bedriftsnett) and the hundreds of thousands of mobile application developers – as with O2 Litmus, Vodafone’s Betavine, Orange Partner and Telenor Fusion, followed closely behind by North American operators AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. Hallmarking the importance of the developer to the mobile industry, the headline mobile events of 2010 – Mobile World Congress and CTIA – both featured dedicated developer pavilions that attracted heavy marketing investments from network operators in Europe and North America. Our research found that while mobile networks are vying for developer mindshare, the opposite is not true; in their majority, developers seem apathetic towards networks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© VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 39
  • 40. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondOur analysis shows that a majority of mobile developersview network operators as bit-pipes. Nearly 80 percent “Whats mostof developer respondents think that the role of network important is notoperators should be to deliver data access understandinganywhere/anytime, while only 53 percent of respondentsconsidered the role of networks as delivering voice calls. demographics, butThis suggests that developers believe operators have a reaching to thesebigger role to play than just delivering voice calls. demographics.”Responses were opinionated and strong, given that the Flash Lite Developervast majority (95 percent) of respondents voiced theiropinion. Moreover, developer sentiment doesnt varysignificantly by the level of experience, by platform or byregion, so we can assume it is representative of theoverall mobile developer community. “[There is a] big gap between intention andIt’s noteworthy that only 20 percent of respondents see outcome. Allnetworks as a potential route to market. While networkoperators are best placed to connect developers to [operators] talk aboutconsumers, they are not perceived as a marketing supporting to consumers. But in practice actualWhats even more surprising is that only five percent of support (usable SDKs,respondents thought that the role of network operators decent documentation,should be to expose network APIs, hinting at the lack of support, person to talkinterest towards network enablers. Some developers to) is lacking.”were more opinionated: "Operators should get out of theway of developers" was one characteristic comment, Malcolm Box,which is disheartening for operators spending resources Developerand money in developer programs.We believe that the relative developer apathy towards operators is down to threereasons:A. Lack of operator-driven marketing programs for the long tail ofdevelopers, and the slow pace with which network APIs have advanced since theturn of the century. The handful of network API programs available globally aregenerally in their nascent stages, with many APIs being in beta while thecommercially available ones are usually prohibitively priced for small developershops (Orange Partner and Telenor’s CPA programs are good examples).B. Mismatch between operator ambitions and the market reality.Operators and related initiatives (e.g. JIL) have been keen to develop their own, full-blown app stores – from app ingestion to discovery – when operators haven’t yetfixed their key issues, namely 70/30 revenue share when apps are purchased throughthe operator payment gateway. The golden rule here is that operators can only extractvalue where they add value – and they have little value to add in app ingestion orapplication discovery, for example. Moreover, many network API programs focus onenablers like messaging or location, for which better or cheaper alternatives exist. T-Mobile USA’s closure of their developer program is perhaps a sign of maturity in thisdirection.C. The gap in developers’ perception of network value. Much like in the 90swhen the first Internet providers had to educate the public on the utility of theInternet, so operators have to convince developers as to the value of the network. Aswe argue at the end of this section, operators have value to add in two market gaps: © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 40
  • 41. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond micro-billing (at credit-card-like rates) and in helping developers target the right segments through their understanding of consumer behaviour on their networks. Who should pay for mobile data anywhere/anytime? All in all, mobile developers see the role of networks as delivering data access anywhere/anytime. But, given the billion-dollar infrastructure investments operators are making (3G, HSPA, LTE) and the incremental (per-MB) cost of offering data access, the obvious question is: who should pay for mobile data? Our research found the consensus of developer opinion pointing to a tiered revenue model, where users should pay extra for premium bandwidth. This practice of bandwidth tiering has long been debated within standards groups, but it has been applied only in very limited contexts (e.g., dual flat-rate pricing structures with DoCoMo in Japan). At the same time, pricing plans always need to strike a fine balance between demand and supply; increasing data prices (with tiering or without) might reduce usage and therefore revenues for both operators and app developers. More novel business models for data access were mostly unpopular in our survey; proposed models included taxing traffic-generating applications, adding a state tax on applications, ad-supported data access, charging app store providers and subsidising bandwidth from the sale of device or application analytics. What network APIs would developers pay for? Many tier-1 operators today in Europe and North America are offering network APIs, i.e. a set of programmatic interfaces allowing developers to leverage network capabilities from their applications. Examples are APIs to allow developers to detect device capabilities, location, send SMS or emails and tap into user profiling information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© VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 41
  • 42. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondOur research shows that developer opinion isn’t strongly converging to any singleAPI; billing APIs was the only one that attractedinterest from more than half of respondents. Also, "There needs to bearound one in three developers said they would payfor SMS/MMS/email APIs and location/presence generational shift inAPIs. The only other single API which garnered a management atpositive response from more than 30 percent was operators.”the user demographics API, allowing developers totap into user profiles like age bracket and spend Antony Hartley,bracket (privacy concerns aside). CTO, MoSync ABAre standards needed for network APIs?As network API programs are maturing, standards groups are emerging – such asGSMA’s One API initiative and the Wholesale Applications Community – tohomogenise the technical and commercial access to operator network capabilities.Our research showed that more than 60 percent of respondents think that unifiedAPI specs are needed, followed by around 45 percent of respondents who felt a singleentry point for API calls was called for. There was no noteworthy variance for thisquestion across platforms or developer experience levels.Our findings confirm the current state of the network enablers market. With networkAPI programs still in their infancy, developers are asking for unified APIs and singleentry points. As network API programs mature over the next three years, the need forunified pricing and a single commercial framework should dominate discussionswithin the developer community.Despite the availability of many network API programs, developers in the post-appstore era are all painfully aware of the commercial reality – and the importance ofmonetisation over and above standards. One developer said characteristically,"Unified whatever is conceptually nice, but as a developer, I really dont carewhether I write essentially the same stuff with different API calls twice, as long as Iget paid for that."Are networks supportive towards developers?We also polled mobile developers for their opinion on the level of support theyreceive from network operators. Overall, results were quite disappointing fornetworks. Only 10 percent of respondents thought that operators were adequatelysupportive towards developers, while almost 70 percent thought that there was littleor no developer support from network operators.The majority of developers had not interacted directly with operators, but were veryopinionated towards the level of support they are getting (or not getting) fromoperators.Developer comments on this matter were polarised. “Pay [for networkAnecdotal reports of developers working withoperators in UK, Israel or Estonia reflected a APIs]? Do they wantpositive sentiment. For example, one respondent our apps on theircommented, “Networks like O2 seem to go out of network?”their way with Litmus”. Robert “Ozzie” Osband,Others were disillusioned with operator support: PHonePHriendly.Com, mobile web developer"Developer support [programs] (e.g. O2 Litmus) do © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 42
  • 43. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyondnot convert into the creation of commercial opportunities." Or, "In Kenya, Safaricom,the leading mobile operator, has completely refused to grant developers access to theM-Pesa [payment] API." Other responses were equally opinionated: "Its a dialogue[with Vodafone] vs. dictatorship with Orange." or "[Operators] talk a lot, but nothingreally happens. This is true for all networks in Spain!" P"N#>%8M#$%&&"(#@"#>";.-0#@020-"&0$#(M.!O#(M03#?0#Q0R!Q#F">#"&0?("$S# !"(#$%0)#*6,# !"#$%&&"()#*+,# 203#$%&&"420)#+5,# -./-0#$%&&"()#1*,# 7"%809#:";.-0#<020-"&0#=8"!">.8$#*5+5#?!@#A03"!@B#C"@%80@#;3#D.$."!:";.-0B#7&"!$"0@#;3#E0-0F"!.8?#<020-"&0#G">>%!.40$B## H%!0#*5+5B#I.80!$0@#%!@0#G0?420#G">>"!$#J/.;%4"!#KB5#I.80!$0B#J!3#%$0#"#0>.L#"F#(M.$#N"O#>%$(#0(?.!#(M.$#!"480B#The overall sentiment has been one of developerdisillusionment with operators. “If Google becameOperators are often seen as engaging in one-way an operator ourcommunication, providing only requirements but problems would begiving little back - in some cases not even offeringdocumentation for their own APIs. "They receive a solved."huge share from the downloads of each product butgive close to zero back to the developers!" Other Peter-Paul Koch,developers see opportunism; "[Operators] are www.quirksmode.orgsupportive if they can share revenue"."They often get in the way of developers and stifle innovation in an effort to protecttheir products and to limit use of their networks to keep costs for new equipmentdown. They also fragment the device implementations for APIs in an effort to keepdevelopers locked in to support only them, and as a way to differentiate themselves inthe market."Developers also see operators as unreliable. "They seem to change their alignmentevery other quarter," or, "The marketing initiatives come and go.. not consistent.Have seen this within both big and small developer companies. Example: O2innovators will be gone in a couple of years… They do not care about developers."Quite a few developers thought that the level of operator support was unfairly biasedtowards the major developer houses – indicating how operator developer programshave not adequately evolved to cater to the long tail. © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 43
  • 44. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond"The first mobile company to TRULY reach out to web developers will have an edgeover the competition, but right now I dont see any candidates. Except for Google,obviously. (And Apple, but theyre playing their own game.) If Google became anoperator our problems would be solved."Opportunities for networksDespite the overall skepticism, we believe network operators have a crucial role toplay in the mobile applications market, particularly in three areas:1. By providing access, transparency and support. There are plenty of waysdevelopers have suggested that operators can help through marketing programs (e.g.helping developers map out the demand for new applications), communication (e.g.frank, open feedback), transparency (sharing service roadmaps) or incubator-likefacilities. The latter can provide a variety of essential infrastructure to app developerslike subsidised market research, handset loaner programs, testing apps within asandbox network, or free SIM Cards. Our survey also found that more than 40percent of respondents are willing pay operators for business development. Again,this is an opportunity for operators to connect with developers and help the mostpromising applications bubble up to the top.2. By providing payment gateways that are cost-effective for applicationdevelopers, i.e. offer a fair revenue pay-out towards developers, at least matching thestandard (70/30) set by app stores. We believe that if networks further extend theirrevenue share to credit-card-like revenue payouts (95/5), they would see networkbilling being adopted for entire new market segments – including retail and Internetpayments – that have so far presented dormant (but major) opportunities. Operatorsshould also shorten their payment cycles closer to the levels delivered by app storesto help developers manage cash flow.3. By helping developers target the right customer segments for theirapplications. Network operators can leverage their customer profile goldmine toallow developers to expose their applications to the right consumer segments. Forexample operators could help developers target 100s of different segments for theirapplications (e.g. female executives, texting teenagers or travelling salesmen), basedon profiling information (age bracket, spend bracket and roaming profile) that arenon-personally identifiable.This is a match made in heaven; networks havedetailed usage information (much more so than “If [operators] didbanks) that could be used to be build up 100s ofconsumer segments, without exposing sensitive really care about appcustomer information. At the same time, developers developers, they wouldsee exposure and marketing as the number one go to the same eventschallenge for mobile applications today. that app developers goClearly network operators have a long, promising way to, rather than tryingto go. But at the same time they also have a finite to do their ownwindow of opportunity, as Internet players are events".gradually breaking down the incumbent controlpoints, whether it’s spectrum scarcity, network- Flash Lite Developercontrolled termination fees or operator-customiseddevices. © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 44
  • 45. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondAppendices © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 45
  • 46. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondAppendix 1. Research MethodologyDeveloper Economics 2010 is a global research report delving into all aspects ofmobile application development, across 400+ developers segmented into eight majorplatforms: iPhone (iOS), Android, Symbian, BlackBerry, Java ME, Windows Phone,Flash and mobile web.The report provides insights into all the touchpoints of mobile app development,from platform selection, application planning, code development and debugging, tosupport, go-to-market channels, promotion, revenue generation, as well as hot topicssuch as the role of open source and network operators.The objectives behind this research were to analyse the mobile developer experiencefrom two very different angles: 1. Survey the perceptions of mobile developers across the eight major platforms: Android, iOS/iPhone, BlackBerry, Symbian, Windows Phone, Flash/Flash Lite, Java ME and mobile web (WAP/XHTML/CSS/Javascript). 2. Benchmark the app development experience across four platforms (iPhone/iOS, Symbian, Android, Java ME) through hands-on development of nine mini applications.The survey received 401 responses from mobile developers across the globe, across35 Q&As, and across the entire development lifecycle, making this the biggest mobiledeveloper survey to date.Out of the 401 respondents, 172 were interviewed by phone and 229 completed thequestionnaire online. Respondents were asked to base their answers on one out of theeight mobile platforms noted above. Up to two responses were allowed per developer,each on a different platform.ParticipantsThe list of respondents mainly comprised developers working for softwarecompanies. Around 20 percent of our respondents were either students or freelancedevelopers, while more than 45 percent worked for companies with 10 to 100employees. The remaining 35 percent of the mobile developers who participated inthis research worked for large companies, with over 100 employees.In total, our respondents included developers from over 300 different companies.The list included developers working in large telecom companies, including softwarecompanies Aplix, Opera Software, and Teleca; handset manufacturers Nokia,Samsung, and ZTE; mobile operators Vodafone, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, and T-Mobile; and, infrastructure vendors Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent.The distribution of participants was positively biased towards experienceddevelopers. More than 40 percent of our respondents had at least five yearsexperience in developing mobile apps, while 87 percent had been developing apps formore than a year. Only 13 percent of the sample was comprised of novices at mobileapplication development, having less than a year’s experience in the field.Moreover, many of the respondents had received one or more developer awards.Almost 20 participants were Nokia Forum Champions, while three were Grand Prize © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 46
  • 47. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyondwinners of Nokia’s Calling all Innovators contest. Our participants also includedthree Adobe Community Experts, three finalists of the Android Developer Challengeand two Handango Champions, while others had won the Mobile Premier and NavteqGlobal LBS Awards. Other participants were winners of the Flash Lite Game Contest,the Betavine and Vodafone Summer of Widgets Contest. The list also included a FlashLite Developer Challenge finalist and the winner of the Indonesia BlackBerryDeveloper Challenge.QuestionnaireThe questionnaire used in Developer Economics 2010 consisted of five parts, eachwith a different focus.• Background: Region, years of mobile development experience and range of experience across platforms.• Platform selection and features: Reasons for selecting platform, best and worst aspects of chosen platform.• Code development, tools & support: Learning curve, IDE and debugger/emulator pain points, getting support on the platform and types of technical and marketing support developers are be willing to pay for, and the relevance of standards groups.• Taking applications to market: App certification, use of app stores, main channel for selling apps, channel revenue and challenges, time-to-shelf and time- to-payment, planning, promotion and revenue models for apps.• Hot topics: Open Source & Network APIs: Open source use and drawbacks, role and support of network operators, API requirements and standardization activity.Data points were captured through mostly multiple-choice questions, with amaximum of three answers per question. Most questions included an open-endedoption, allowing us to capture context-specific comments and qualitative aspects ofdeveloper sentiment.All participants were entered into a prize draw for 25 prizes, including handsets,Amazon vouchers and conference passes.Regional, platform and experience distributionOur sample of 401 respondents was drawn from a variety of regional and experiencebackgrounds.Note that our distribution of respondents is not necessarily representative of the totalglobal distribution of mobile developers across regions or platforms. In interpretingthe results of the survey we have often normalised across platforms (i.e. as if we had100 developers from each platform), as well as checking for response variances basedon the level of experience or across regions. The reader may have to apply theinsights to their ‘reference’ developer distribution as applicable in their region ormarket. © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 47
  • 48. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond N-+O#&,0$%&89$(/#$7*F+3 .+#/0!1-#$%& 2%-&3$& 4+*/0!1-#$%& !"#$%& )*#+,- !($& 4+*#%-56+7$8-9-:-8+,-#)%+3+1$%(;<=<&3>?-@+3>AB#+>*%->7@C$($+36+7$8-A4,+3(+#->7@D-8-"+3$%&9-:-8+,-#E+11*3$F-(A G*3-;<=<AH$%-3(->*3>-#E#-&F:-E+11+3(!I#$7*F+3JA<H$%-3(-A!3@*(-+##-1$K+"/0$(L+#M1*(/#-/&$3/0$(3+F%-ARespondents were asked to provide the country they were currently based in, asopposed to their country of origin. Although this research was worldwide, the sampleof respondents had a bias towards Europe, as shown in the chart above. Africa, SouthAmerica and Oceania yielded a small number of respondents.Platform distributionDevelopers were asked to base their answers on the platform that they spent most oftheir time on. The choice was between the eight major moble platforms, as notedearlier. The platform chosen by the largest number of respondents was Android,followed by Symbian and iOS (iPhone). Regrettably, BlackBerry and Flash Lite wereboth underrepresented, having been chosen by a fraction of our respondents. Thenext graph shows the distribution of platforms selected by our 400+ respondents. )8&Q+2#(D%<>2%$BM+( 5+$%8,(?,$( ?%1+@<()*+,( !"#$%&( ;8&<*(=%>,( 78&9:7,22"( A( %)*+,(-%.!/( 3&4&(56( 012+%1( !+B29,C(5+$%8,(D,4,8+E,2(69++#%9<(FGHG(&1(7,"+1A()2+1B9,1($"(I%<%+5+$%8,A(!E+<+2,1($"(J,8,K+%9&(D,4,8+E,2(L+##B%M,<A(( 3B,(FGHGA(=%9,<,1(B1,2(L2,&M4,(L+##+<(0N2%$BM+(OAG(=%9,<,A(0"(B<,(+2(2,#%P(+K(>*%<(@+2:(#B<>(2,>&%(>*%<(+M9,A( © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 48
  • 49. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondIn terms of geographical distribution, native platform developers (Symbian, iOS,Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone) who participated in our survey mostlyoriginated from North America, while cross-platform developers (Java ME andFlash/ Flash Lite) made up nearly half of the Asia-based respondents. Developersbased in Europe had a more balanced distribution between native, web and cross-platform developers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© VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 49
  • 50. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondAppendix 2. Comparative platform benchmarksToday’s mobile platforms are extremely diverse in their characteristics in a host ofdifferent ways, all of which impact the developer experience. Take for example thediversity of coding experience across development languages (C++, Objective-C orJava), environments and tool-chains (xCode, Eclipse, Carbide), emulatorperformance, on-target debugging performance, programming APIs and idioms (iOSframeworks, Symbian macros, Android Intents or Java ME profiles), available classlibraries, supporting SDKs, information available in forums vs communities, andmany more.To research the finer aspects of the mobile development experience, we benchmarkedthe four key mobile platforms – iOS (iPhone), Android, Symbian and Java ME –against the most common developer tasks: coding, emulator debugging, devicedebugging, and support resources (SDK, official and community forums).We structured our research by asking eight developers to prototype nine mobileapplications – from ‘hello world’ to networking, multimedia, sensor and addressbookapplications. We then asked each developer to keep track of the time taken in keytasks, including coding, debugging and reading SDKs, as well as key output metricslike lines of code written. To balance out the level of development experience, ourpanel for each platform consisted of one novice developer (who had not programmedon that platform before) and one expert developer (who had at least one yearexperience on the platform).The developers were given application specs in the form of a screen mockup and adescription of the application controls and behaviour, as shown in the next example.We broke down the research results into five key metrics that provide generalisableinsights into the key platforms. We next walk through each metric and the insightsgenerated.Which platform is the quickest and slowest to get started on?We measured the time it takes for a novice developer to install the SDK and develop asimple Hello World application. © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 50
  • 51. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond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urprisingly, iPhone is the hardest platform to get started on, taking two to three times longer to set up for a novice developer than other platforms. The iPhone developer spent three hours in total to set up the environment and develop the Hello World app, almost half of which was spent in looking up documentation. Which platform takes the least and most coding effort for common applications? Symbian is well known for its quirky development idioms and the tedious C++ development effort needed to accomplish even simple tasks. This was confirmed quantitatively by our research; for developing nine typical applications, a Symbian developer needs to write almost three times more code than an Android developer. iPhone is also based on a C-like programming paradigm, but its drag & drop design environment allows for far more effective coding, resulting in half as much code writing, compared to Symbian. Java ME is lagging slightly behind Android in terms of the overall coding effort. © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 51
  • 52. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond 9+2%:(,;+3<(3,=>%3,2(?+3(@(A%#BC,(&BBA( !"#$%&( %)*+,( -&.&(/0( 123+%2( <+<&C(C%,A(+?(D+2,(O3%M,:( 4( 544( 6444( 6544( 7444( 7544( 8444( 8544( !+>3D,E(/+$%C,(F,.,C+B,3(0D++#%DA(7464(&2(G,"+2H()3+2>D,2($"(I%A%+/+$%C,H(!B+A+3,2($"(J,C,?+%D&(F,.,C+B,3(9+##>%K,AH(( ->,(7464H(L%D,A,2(>2,3(93,&K.,(9+##+A(1M3%$>K+(8H4(L%D,A,H(1"(>A,(+3(3,#%N(+?(<*%A(O+3P(#>A<(3,<&%(<*%A(+KD,H(Which platform is the fastest and slowest for debugging?To understand how the debugging effort varies across platforms, we compared thetime spent in debugging by all expert developers who were already experienced withthe platform. We also compared time taken for on-emulator vs. on-device debugging.Results show that debugging on Android is faster than on any other platform – and infact twice as fast as debugging on Symbian. Besides showing its age as a decade-oldplatform, Symbian presents many challenges with on-target debugging, since theemulator behaviour often differs compared to when the application is tested on theactual device. A3>?BB/+B#E=3#-3F?/-3,#G.-#H#@/=2C3#822C/D8E.+@# A3>?BB/+B#.+#3=?C84.-# A3>?BB/+B#.+#,39/D3# ;<=>/8+# 0123-4# 7898#:0# 0123-4# /56.+3# 0123-4# *+,-./,# 0123-4# 6.?-@# !"!# $"!# %"!# &"!# "!# ("!# )"!# ;.?-D3I#:.>/C3#A393C.23-#0D.+.=/D@#%!$!#8+,#J3<.+,"#5-.,?D3,#><#K/@/.+:.>/C3"#;2.+@.-3,#><#L3C3G.+/D8#A393C.23-#M.==?+/E3@"## 7?+3#%!$!"#N/D3+@3,#?+,3-#M-38E93#M.==.+@#*O-/>?E.+#&"!#N/D3+@3"#*+<#?@3#.-#-3=/1#.G#46/@#P.-Q#=?@4#-348/+#46/@#+.ED3"#Second runners to Android are iPhone and Java ME in terms of debugging effort.Despite Java’s simple language, structure and garbage collection, on-target behaviour © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 52
  • 53. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyondis again dependent on the device and JVM vendor, which increases the applicationdebugging time.4. How do platforms differ in terms of the documentation & support?Each platform vendor has a different strategy for in-sourcing documentation asopposed to letting the community support the platform. These variations show up inour research as we looked at how much time developers spent in official forums andcommunity forums.The level of developer enthusiasm and the huge community that has formed aroundthe iPhone has made community forums the main source for developer support. Ourbenchmarks show that iPhone offers the strongest community-driven support,followed by Android. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Symbian, where Nokiahas done an exemplary job of supporting developers, including a Forum Nokia Wikiand a best-in-class devices database containing hardware specs and platform details. U@7E5#1I#H1==F.2B<#8@#1GH27C#I10F=@# ?2=5#@A5.B#C11D2.E#FA#1GH27C#I10F=@# ?2=5#@A5.B#C11D2.E#FA#H1==F.2B<#I10F=@# -./012/# 2341.5# 6787#9:# ;<=>27.# !"# $!"# %!"# &!"# !"# (!"# )!"# *!"# +!"# ,!"# $!!"# ;1F0H5J#91>2C5#K585C1A50#:H1.1=2H@#%!$!#7./#L5<1./M#301/FH5/#><#N2@21.91>2C5M#;A1.@105/#><#?5C5I1.2H7#K585C1A50#O1==F.2P5@M## 6F.5#%!$!M#Q2H5.@5/#F./50#O057P85#O1==1.@#-R02>FP1.#&M!#Q2H5.@5M#-.<#F@5#10#05=2S#1I#B42@#T10D#=F@B#05B72.#B42@#.1PH5M#How are platforms suited to developing common applications?To compare and contrast platforms across a wide range of application use cases, weasked our eight developers (one novice and one expert per platform) to complete aseries of self-contained applications: hello world, multimedia player, form controlsand persistence, graphics & background task, camera snapshot, location sensing,accelerometer, network access and markup and an address book application. Theresults show large variance across the applications.The iPhone expert was the fastest in completing the accelerometer and the addressbook application. The Android expert completed the location sensing and todo list(form controls and persistence) applications ahead of his peers, while the Symbianexpert completed the multimedia player task faster than the others. Finally, the Javaexpert was faster than his peers in a number of tasks, being the first to complete thehello world and setup task, the graphics & background task, the camera snapshot andthe network access & markup tasks.The Java novice did not complete any of the tasks ahead of his peers, while theiPhone novice completed just one task, namely address book & telephony ahead of © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 53
  • 54. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyondthe other novices. The Symbian novice took less time than the other novices incompleting hello world and setup, the multimedia player and the network access andmarkup tasks. Finally, the Android novice completed the largest number of tasksfaster than his peers, being the first to develop the form controls and persistance, thegraphics and background, the camera snapshot, the location sensing and theaccelerometer tasks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e conclude that for developing typical use cases, Android is consistently the fastestplatform to develop on, with few exceptions (the multimedia player and networkaccess use cases) across both novice and expert developers. Surprisingly, iPhoneoverall takes most time for application developers, even more so than Symbian. Thisis probably due to our selection of application tasks; we tested for common use casesand not complex tasks where code size increases with complexity, and debuggingbecomes a significant percentage of the development cycle (contrary to the average 10percent of the development cycle in our tests).It’s also worth pointing out that Java ME had the most pronounced differencesbetween the novice and the expert, with the novice taking three times longer, or 43more hours, to complete the whole set. The average difference between novice andexpert on the other three platforms was 16 hours.Using the above data, we can say that when developing common applications, eachhour of work for a given Android developer, irrespective of level of experience, equals1 hour and 10 minutes for a Symbian developer, 1 hour and 20 minutes for a Java MEdeveloper and approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes for an iPhone developer. © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 54
  • 55. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondAppendix 3. Developer contests and standards groupsDeveloper competitions and contests2010 has been the year of the developer, witnessing a mass introduction of developerevents, contests and competitions – not only from platform vendors and handsetmanufacturers, but also hardware manufacturers (e.g., Qualcomm), networkequipment providers (e.g., Alcatel Lucent, Ericsson) and network operators (e.g.,Telefonica, Vodafone, Verizon).So what does it take to get developers to participate? Why do developers attendcompetitions and contests and what makes them successful?Our survey found that cash prizes and getting their name out there are the mainmotivation for developers’ participation in competitions and contests – much in linewith Maslow’s theory on the hierarchy of needs.Yet views differ significantly by platform. Symbian, Android and mobile webdevelopers take the high road and prefer fame over money. Windows Phone, Flash,BlackBerry, iPhone and especially Java developers prefer a nice cash prize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otential for business development is the next biggest motivator, with more than 35percent of developers very keen to leverage events to build stronger relationshipswith handset manufacturers and network operators. There is an opportunity here formobile operators to not only create competitions to generate innovative services fortheir customer base, but also attract the attention of some of the best developers inthe market, for a potentially small investment. © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 55
  • 56. Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and BeyondStandards groups: are they important to developers?Despite their multitude, mobile industry standards, consortia and joint initiativesseem to have captured very little developer mindshare.To some mobile industry insiders, this will come as no surprise; standards bodies likethe OMA and GSMA have not invested in developer outreach until recently.Furthermore, their recommendations affect network technology, which is farremoved from the mobile developer experience. Surprisingly though, OMTP (withtheir BONDI initiative) has generated significant attention within the mobileindustry, a sentiment which seems to not be shared by the average mobile developerworking outside the hype-circle of the industry.Overall, the only standards consortium that is of significance to mobile developers isthe W3C, which is seen as important for mobile development by 60 percent of allrespondents (and over 90 percent of mobile webdevelopers). Ironically, W3C maintains the onlynon-mobile-focused group of standards “Most [standards groups] doapplicable to the mobile industry. This finding not do anything other thanpoints to how standardisation efforts within the get in the way of progress.”mobile industry have traditionally sidelined therole of third party developers, and are now Shawn Fitzgerald,waking up to this reality of developer Java ME Developerindifference.Second runners were the OMA, OMTP andGSMA which are seen as important to only 20-30 percent of developers. Javadevelopers were the only group of respondents who favoured a different standardsgroup, namely the Java Community Process (JCP). )@A1?A/?2$B/0C>2$D02@$ED>0/@A1@$@0$D0FEG=$?=H=G0>=/2$E1$A>>$?=H=G0>D=1@$ !"#$ %&$ ()&$ %&*+$ ,#+$ -./0102$ ;$0<$/=2>01?=1@2$ 3$ 43$ 53$ "3$ 63$ 73$ 83$ 93$ :3$ )0C/I=J$&0FEG=$K=H=G0>=/$LI010DEI2$5343$A1?$M=N01?O$+/0?CI=?$FN$PE2E01&0FEG=O$)>0120/=?$FN$*=G=<01EIA$K=H=G0>=/$#0DDC1EQ=2O$$ ,C1=$5343O$REI=12=?$C1?=/$#/=AQH=$#0DD012$S/EFCQ01$"O3$REI=12=O$1N$C2=$0/$/=DET$0<$@.E2$U0/V$DC2@$/=@AE1$@.E2$10QI=O$Some developers are even disillusioned with standards groups; one said, “Most[standards groups] do not do anything other than get in the way of progress,” whileanother stated, “[Standards] are coffee+cookie parties”. Clearly standards initiativesin the mobile industry have a long way to go before convincing developers of theirvalue. © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities 56
  • 57. knowledge. passion. innovation.