With the number of app platforms available to developers continuing to grow which app platforms should you be looking to develop on? Over the last 12 months, Android has emerged as a serious competitor to Apple’s iOS, but what lies beyond these platforms?

A survey by Vision Mobile, Developer Economics 2011, provides some of the data which indicates which platforms developers are looking to target in 2011 versus 2010. The survey involved nearly 100 developers across 75+ countries working on 8 major platforms.

Android and Apple’s iOS remain front of mind, but the mobile web and perhaps surprisingly Java and Blackberry are not far behind as developers look to extend their apps across platforms.

Developer mindshare
There is life beyond the 'big two'

If some of those figures seem high, particularly around Java and Symbian, then the list of platforms developers are looking to abandon makes may give a better indication of intentions. Top of the list is indeed Symbian with 39%, Java ME with 35% and Palm and Brew equal 3rd with 28%.

And the reasons developers are choosing the platforms? Below are the top five reasons given:

  • large market penetration (50%)
  • low cost development tools (28%)
  • revenue potential (27%)
  • quick to code and prototype (26%)
  • by client request (22%)

So how does that break down by platform? The graphic below illustrates that no one platform ticks all the boxes in terms of covering all technical and commercial bases.

Adoption criteria
The picture is more spread out than you might think

Most interesting in the above chart is the position of Windows Mobile which has the technical tools and may yet be able to provide the commercial levers through its financial muscle and its strategic deal with Nokia.