Analysis: Google's Android finally earns respect with developers

Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:48pm EST
 

By Alexei Oreskovic

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The mobile video game Kingdoms at War is popular with owners of Apple Inc's iPhone and Google Inc's Android smartphones alike. But for the game's maker, there is a very important difference - it earns more than double the money on iPhones and iPads than it does on Android devices.

The disparity is a weakness for Android, which has emerged as the world's most widespread mobile operating system, but has long suffered second-class status among software app developers who prefer the prestige, higher revenue potential and uniformity of Apple's rival platform.

But app developers say that is changing fast.

Just three years after Google and partners from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd to HTC Corp launched a frontal assault on the iPhone, Android is coming into its own with an improved built-in payment system, a growing fleet of high-end devices and a redesigned app store. That translates into increasing revenue for apps developers.

"When Android first launched, we didn't even really consider going on Android," said Wilkins Chung, the co-founder of Thinking Ape, which makes the Kingdoms at War app.

"Now it's at the point where it makes business sense to invest more resources on Android and try to get there faster. Even though we monetize less, it's still a significant amount of revenue."

Smule, another mobile app developer, released its first Android app this Spring, roughly a year after the iOS version appeared, and in July the company launched an app on both Android and iOS simultaneously. Next year, Smule hopes to launch all its new apps on both platforms at the same time, said General Manager Prerna Gupta.

The monetization level of the Android apps is not as good as it is on Apple's iOS, she conceded, but added: "We've been pleasantly surprised."   Continued...

 
Android mascots are lined up in the demonstration area at the Google I/O Developers Conference in the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California, May 10, 2011. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach