Thursday, April 29, 2010

Google cloud APIs surging ahead among mobile developers

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: Ovum’s new mobile application developer survey found 60 percent of mobile developers are using or plan to use Google’s server-side APIs when building applications, leaving the mobile operators behind at 25 percent.

Michele Mackenzie, independent industry analyst at Ovum, comments: “This is not surprising as Google, leveraging its dominance in the Internet domain, is fast establishing itself as a strong partner in the mobile applications environment.

“Given that mobile operators have put increasing efforts behind API exposure it is perhaps disappointing that only 25 percent of the respondents were supporting or planned to support mobile network operator APIs; particularly when 31 percent of our sample was using or planned to use Facebook APIs. This clearly illustrates that mobile operators have their work cut out but it is still early days and they are not out of the race."

When selecting partners for application development, the top requirements are ease of development (70 percent) followed by breadth of platform functionality (69 percent), good-quality SDKs (68 percent), and flexibility/innovation (63 percent).

In terms of actual channel partners, Apple’s App Store topped the charts, with 74 percent of respondents distributing or planning to distribute their applications through it. Android Market, BlackBerry App World, and Windows Marketplace for Mobile all scored well with more than 50 percent of the sample supporting them.

Eden Zoller, Principal Analyst, comments, “Rather surprisingly the operator portal or application store was not, as one might have expected, the poor relation to the device vendor stores.” A respectable 51 percent of respondents were using the operator as a channel or planned to do so. “Operators are generally perceived as good channel partners because they provide many of the core partner attributes and also support some or all of the devices offered by their rivals listed above.”

When selecting a channel partner for distributing applications, reach is the top priority for developers (32 percent). Put simply, they want to get services in front of as many people as possible. Geographic and local presence is ranked second (12 percent), followed by technical support (10 percent).

Issues relating to business models such as costs, flexibility, and revenue share received a lower ranking, but this should not be taken to mean that these things are not important. It is more a question of getting the fundamentals in place as a priority.

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