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As the revenue gap to iOS shrinks, why aren't developers supporting Android tablets?

As the revenue gap to iOS shrinks, why aren't developers supporting Android tablets?
The numbers have been studied, and all signs point to the fact that while developers still generate more revenue on iOS in the iTunes App Store than in the Google Play Store for Android devices, the gap is shrinking. We've also seen some pretty impressive new Android tablets on the market and on the way, so why aren't developers working harder to support 10" Android tablets?

We've seen the vicious circle of app support a number of times: a platform has trouble gaining traction because of lesser app support, and has lesser app support because it doesn't have enough market traction. It happened early on for Android, and is something that Windows Phone is still struggling with. The strange thing is that it's also been a problem for 10" Android tablets, even though Android has definitely been gaining momentum in the market. 

The days of the iPad being the de facto choice for a tablet are gone. The last set of numbers showed that Apple's once dominating lead had fallen to a mere majority stake with the iPad comprising just under 57% of tablet shipments worldwide, and Android all the way up to 41%. Granted, this number does include 7" Android tablets, as well as 7" Android offshoots like the Amazon Kindle Fire, but regardless, Android has certainly proven that it is making its way into the hands of consumers. Getting devices into the hands of consumers is a strong step towards breaking the vicious cycle of app support, and the another big factor in breaking the cycle is in how much revenue is generated on a platform.

The shrinking revenue gap

For those stuck in old thinking, let's get this out of the way as clearly as possible: Android is not populated only by free apps, and users do purchase apps. In fact, while Apple does still lead according to some metrics, the revenue gap is shrinking and some even put the Google Play Store as the better option for making money as an app developer. There are four different sources for the numbers that we've seen, and while the specifics vary, the trend with all of them is that app revenue gap is shrinking. 

We do need to point out that a lot of these numbers are based on estimations and extrapolation. The last time there were real stats on the subject of app revenue was back in Aril, then Tech-Thoughts took those stats and used estimated month-over-month growth stats to extrapolate. That doesn't
As the revenue gap to iOS shrinks, why aren't developers supporting Android tablets?
necessarily mean that the numbers are wrong, but we definitely can't take them as fact either. However, the month-over-month trends are the real issue, and those show Android gaining on iOS.

The general trend comes from App Annie, which is a service that helps developers track their apps' revenue stats across both iTunes and Google Play as well as overall app store trends for all apps. Back in April, the iTunes App Store generated approximately 71% of all app revenue between the two platforms, and Google Play had just 29%. But, extrapolating out by using the month-over-month stats, the gap has closed quickly, and as of September, the Google Play Store could be up as high as 44% of app revenue and iTunes was down to 56%

This is a pretty big change, and the numbers can be backed up by other studies. Most interesting is by using the numbers from VisionMobile, which
As the revenue gap to iOS shrinks, why aren't developers supporting Android tablets?
found in April/May that per month iOS apps generated an average of $3,693, while Google Play apps generated an average of $2,735. Extrapolating out, that could have shifted in favor of Android with Google Play generating more that iTunes in September at about $4000 per app per month. The key to VisionMobile's numbers is that it is based on a survey of 1500 app developers, and includes ad revenue. 

Ad revenue may be the real key, because while some say that ads on iOS are more valuable, the ad revenue could be the big equalizer in terms of overall app revenue. This seems to be shown most in the numbers from Distimo & CCS Insight, which shows that the iTunes App Store is extremely top heavy. Even just based on the original numbers from VisionMobile, the average app revenue per month was relatively close between
As the revenue gap to iOS shrinks, why aren't developers supporting Android tablets?
iOS and Android. But, the numbers from Distimo, which originate in January before the Tech-Thoughts extrapolation, show that when looking specifically at the Top 200 Apps, iOS generates quite a bit more in daily revenue per app. 

The numbers from January show that the Top 200 iOS apps generated $5.41 million in daily revenue as compared to just $0.68 million for Google Play, and even after extrapolating, the top iOS apps still make about 2.5 times more than the top apps on Android. Given how much closer the monthly averages were from VisionMobile, we can either assume that Google Play is either more evenly distributed as far as app revenue, or we can assume that app sales revenue is bolstered by ad revenue. The real answer may be somewhere in the middle, but most stores, digital and physical, tend to be somewhat top heavy as far as product popularity, so it's more reasonable to assume ad revenue is more relevant here. 

However you want to look at it, it's hard to argue that Android tablets are bad business, especially with Google pushing harder and harder to put the Play Store front and center in new versions of Android on the Nexus line of devices.

  • Options

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 09:57 5

1. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 12999; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)

One thing is app piracy. People sideload apps on Android and developers aren't willing to risk that chance. They make more money off iOS so the game is still quite huge.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 10:06 32

5. aahmed215 (Posts: 165; Member since: 18 Jun 2012)

There is app piracy on the iPhone too.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 11:25 18

29. HäckeMáte (Posts: 168; Member since: 28 Feb 2012)

Wow Mxy, ever heard of Cydia or Installous?? its actually far worse than sideloading apps on Android. I've even used it to download LogMeIn Ignition (a $99.00 app)

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 12:43 4

35. JunitoNH (Posts: 1789; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)

Yes you're correct, you have to jailbreak the device. Most use Cydia to get all their black market apps. Unlike Android, you can get them, and side load them practically from anywhere. Furthermore, you need not root device to use pirated apps, so the process easier, simpler.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 20:42

46. Nadr1212 (Posts: 741; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)

DANG!!!! Apple is just starting to become more like Nokia!

(Didn't c that coming!)

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 10:16 17

7. buccob (Posts: 2566; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)

I would say that Jailbreaking and Cydia is way more popular than sideloading on Android... For the average guy, it is known that Cydia exist and it is a complete pirate store available for jailbroken iphones...

Android on the other hand is popular, but the average guy don't even know there is sideloading option...

So your argument is not really valid... There is piracy on both OS

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 10:23

10. deuel_18 (Posts: 54; Member since: 25 Sep 2012)

arent there any blocking security system for piracy?..like what they did with RealPlayer in Google Chrome..luckily theres still window 8 i could use to download my favorite song/videos from youtube

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 10:52 1

16. Nadr1212 (Posts: 741; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)

That does seem fishy

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 10:56

23. Nadr1212 (Posts: 741; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)

That's still pretty impressive Apple having 57% of market share, specially that it is on its own, UNlike Android.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 11:12 4

27. tedkord (Posts: 11687; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)

They had a huge head start, and Android tablets stumbled out the gate. Within a year or two, Apple share will mirror smartphones. Android JB is super smooth, without sacrificing any the power or flexibility.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 13:13 2

37. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)

just compare how many phones and tablets each OS has....enough of your dumb comments...

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 13:34

39. jroc74 (Posts: 6005; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


posted on 12 Nov 2012, 15:16

43. JunitoNH (Posts: 1789; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)

All you need is to open your browser, bang your done. How easy is that, or is it perhaps you have never tried it or know how to do it.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 10:20 17

8. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Yeah, I'd have to agree with the guys who replied to you. Piracy may be easier on Android, but that doesn't mean it's more prevalent, because it is still only done by an extremely small proportion of the user base.

And, regardless of piracy, Android is closing the gap with iOS in terms of app revenue, and that can't be ignored.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 10:28 1

11. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

Well-done article. I am curious to see that the ipadmini is supposedly set to grab a bit more marketshare. From what I've been hearing the 4 is the hot seller, and folks have been buying now-cheaper 3s and 2s instead of the smaller, less-capable, and non-retina-screened mini. I think the 7-9" tablet market will remain Android's, and the 9.7"+ will become a 3-way race (as it's already starting to be) between Android, ipad, and Windows RT

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 10:47 1

15. tedkord (Posts: 11687; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)

The story author replying is like super food to the troll. Don't feed him.

To add to the discussion, it's less necessary to rework an app for Android, since Android doesn't require a certain resolution like iOS. Like a PC, an android device scales to the given resolution.

Also, data showing the inevitable dominance of android on the Tablet sector has only just started showing up. When developers start seeing a trending toward android and money to be made, developers will follow.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 11:11 7

26. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

That's what everyone thinks, but I've had some good discussions with Myx.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 12:10

30. tedkord (Posts: 11687; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)

Where there's smoke...

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 13:14 1

38. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)

Must have been eons ago...

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 20:56 2

47. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

You guys need to realize that just because someone likes Apple doesn't make them a troll. I've seen you guys reacting to Myx like he's a troll, even though he hasn't said anything inflamatory.

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 11:44

49. Reluctant_Human (Posts: 886; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)

Great article but I think you nailed it at the end. The apps are universal which is a huge benefit to having an android tablet and phone. Developers can't double dip with Android users so gives them less incentive to do so.

Personally I prefer only having to buy the app once or having to decide which device I want to buy it for. With the gap in market share closing I'm sure that'll be the push developers need.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 10:33

12. noim1 (Posts: 297; Member since: 15 May 2012)

It is clearly shown that u r an iSheep !!! if there are premium & Quality apps for tablets then why not..i would also pay for the app to gain future updates .....and don't talk like there is no Piracy in iOS .....stop bitching and accept your iOS is 2 years behind Android .....

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 10:55 1

22. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)

What you said is load of baseless nonsense some ios app developers have as much piracy as android developers so that excuse is lame, jailbreak is a YouTube video away, people who want to pirate apps will pirate apps

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 12:39

34. LOTR12 (Posts: 13; Member since: 04 Nov 2012)

A lot of android users don't side load or pirate apps because most of the ones they use are free, or the ones that come with the tablet/phone are good enough that they don't have to do all the pirate work.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 12:52

36. JunitoNH (Posts: 1789; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)

You are entitled to your opinion. Yes, there are several useless apps that are free, especially games. However, say you wanted something with more substance, say to tether. You can get the free version, which they'll call lite, with minimum functionality. You have to invest $3.99 and upward for the pro version.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 14:23

42. AamirSIII (banned) (Posts: 187; Member since: 04 Oct 2012)

Im 100% android user and i 100% agree to what u have just said. u know just about 3 weeks ago i had to buy my first tablet. i did so much research to choose between iPad and Note 10.1 i cant tell u!

but at the end i went for Note 10.1! u know why, cause of the Android! i love Android because of its openness! but i knew there would be not much of apps for my tablet. and yes there are literally not much!

even the most commonly used apps have no tablet compatible version!

i live in Pakistan. here we have no play store purchase facility. but i get the play cards more than their original price just to buy apps i like!

for a person living in a country with no play store purchase facility, i still buy apps!

i would personally like to request developers (either solo developers or companies) to pls develop apps for android seriously! u would not be disappointed! make our tablet experiences better and we would make ur pockets heavy.... lol :)

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 21:14

48. thephonedude (Posts: 60; Member since: 27 Oct 2012)

There is app piracy in iOS too.. ahem ahem *jailbreaking Ahem...download paid apps for free ahem..

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 09:59 2

2. MeoCao (unregistered)

Oh they will, after Nexus 10 we will see a lot more adapted apps for 10" hi-res Andoid tablets.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 10:02

3. PAPINYC (banned) (Posts: 2315; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)

...... because those same "developers" have stock in Apple, so you see, it's a conflict of financial interest; they need Android tablets to fail, no matter how much more superior they may be to that tAmpAd, their iDividends depend on it.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 10:04 4

4. wendygarett (unregistered)

Nice article Michael... Keep up the good work :)

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 10:15

6. bucky (Posts: 2573; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)

Probably too much trouble developing for so many different devices. Time is money. I do like the nexus tablets though.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 10:22 6

9. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Android uses responsive design. Just like web developers don't have to worry about all of the different computer/display setups in the world, neither do Android devs.

There may be issues that arise after the app is made because of the various devices, but that is a support issue, not a development one.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 10:53

18. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)

Development is not a major issue you mostly need to have the icons in 3 standard but the code remains the same, yeah there are some compatibility issues related with codding but same thing could be said about iPhone d
With new iOS versions

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 13:41

40. bucky (Posts: 2573; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)

Good point but I still believe there are issue with different variations of android being offered along with different hardware grades. Also, up until the nexus 7 wa offered there really wasn't anything worth while offered.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 18:22

45. tedkord (Posts: 11687; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)

Compatibility for different versions of Android is no different than for different versions of iOS.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 10:36 1

13. _Bone_ (Posts: 2154; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)

This is purely a time issue, these capable Android tablets are so fresh that the app world is yet to properly respond. They may be a little lazy, but it'll only take a couple of big developers to come out with well optimized apps, and competition won't risk falling behind - soon everybody's going to make Android tablications. And Jelly Bean is a GREAT platform for it.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 10:55 1

21. speckledapple (Posts: 892; Member since: 29 Sep 2011)

I agree that JB is a very awesome piece of software and I think if we can get carriers and manufacturers to release these updates sooner, we could see some huge gains in the app tablet verse.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 10:44

14. shuaibhere (Posts: 1986; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)

Nexus 10 will open the door for 10" android apps.....come on devs!!! we need your help......

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 10:53 1

17. cncrim (Posts: 826; Member since: 15 Aug 2011)

Good Article, keep it up. Should be more article like this instead troll and bias ......

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 10:53

19. speckledapple (Posts: 892; Member since: 29 Sep 2011)

Android has really yet to shine as much as it has with smartphones. Its true that there are many tablets that are successful but not in the breaking numbers that there are in smartphones. Even with sales of tablets from Android possibly surpassing Apple next year, there is plenty left to want when you deal with so many screen resolutions, sizes, and well OS version. It will take Google a little longer to get the tablet portion in smartphone like order but they will. In the meantime, Windows hybrids and tablets will make a splash and provide nice alternatives for both the iPad and Android tablets. And that is why competition is fund because it will make for an interesting time come next year.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 10:54 1

20. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

I think the app metrics are a bit inaccurate. I always have. Android apps scale, so technically all apps are tablet apps. Some are just optimized for it.

One thing you didnt mention is app updates. Devs are constantly updating their apps to fix an issue with this device or that chipset. For the small guys that is sucking away any time they have to make a high resolution/10 inch tablet display adjustment. You got to chose to either concentrate on fixing the bugs for 90% of your customers or making it prettier for 10%. For bigger companies like Twitter, that's not really a valid excuse, but most apps are from the little guy. I do think that is at least a portion of the reason some apps dont reformat to take advantage of the higher resolutions.

But again, all android apps are tablet apps unless specifically excluded by the developer.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 11:03

24. lzsbleach (Posts: 155; Member since: 20 May 2012)

We as android users should give them more support, buy a paid version of an app if you really like it. Developers should also have a trial version for their apps that are only paid versions. This can really help because there are many times I want to try an app without paying for it.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 11:09 1

25. gwuhua1984 (Posts: 1237; Member since: 06 Mar 2012)

Great article Michael.

"Android is not populated only by free apps, and users do purchase apps".

Whenever I find an app that I like in free section, I end up buying it on the paid section.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 11:21

28. imkyle (Posts: 1073; Member since: 18 Nov 2010)

I'm not sure why they aren't supporting Android tablets, but Google now has two official Nexus Tablets out so its time to get a move on.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 12:19

31. DOGIEFRESH (Posts: 302; Member since: 15 Jul 2009)

Because they don't sell as the Ipad, numbers lower on Ipad shipment doesn't mean people is buying more Android tablets simple as that despite the small succes of nexus 7 sales numbers is what count, devs wont waste time on tablets that roughly sold 1,5 mill in 1 month when you have an option of Ipads that sells over 3 millns in one weekend is no brainer

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 12:33

32. skymitch89 (Posts: 1299; Member since: 05 Nov 2010)

Probably because there are soo many different Android tablets with a great variety of screen sizes and resolutions which would make it more of a challenge to make an app that would would properly with each.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 13:55

41. Zero0 (Posts: 592; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)

That's really a non-issue. PC programs have all kinds of screens to deal with, and they manage to work just fine. When developers make apps according to Google's recommendations, Android apps work the same way.

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 17:34

44. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

How many times must I explain responsive design?

Android, like the web, lets you design once and it will dynamically rearrange your layout for various screen sizes.

Do a Google Image search, then resize your browser window, you'll see what I mean (assuming you're using a quality browser (not IE)).

posted on 12 Nov 2012, 12:35

33. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

All things point towards android beating iOS pretty much the same way windows blew Mac away.
Diversity + freedom + quality =Quantity.
And ultimately, quantity is like gravity .. eventually it will pull in everything, including money and developers

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