Ever since the iPhone came out in 2007, it has been ahead of the game.
Android and HTC released a phone a year and a half later but it has never caught up with Apple as far as monetization goes.
However, this year things are starting to change for developers and it looks like it just became a real race again.
No matter who was crunching the numbers, Android developers never made more on average than iOS developers.
Now, with all things considered, including advertising, fees, and mobile commerce, there is only a minuscule difference.
In fact, Android developers earn 90 cents on the dollar when compared to iOS.
How’d They Do It?
Android had and really does still have a big problem. It had become very fragmented.
This caused it to be very hard for developers to develop apps that worked across all Android devices.
Many times a great app would only work properly on 30% or even less of Android devices in use.
One reason is that Android was free for anyone to modify, this caused a large amount of hardware choices for consumers while running different systems.
In fact, there were over 11,500 different Android devices this year, last year it was under 4,000.
However, Google has been releasing monthly reports showing the platform distribution numbers to developers.
This has given developers a better idea of what version of Android they should support.
After the release of Jelly Bean, it seems that developers are starting to get on board with about 43% of users running Jelly Bean and older versions are updated through Google Play.
The over 11,500 different devices running Android
What’s Their Revenue Source?
The main source of revenue for Android developers is through advertising. This is due in part because many services have started up aimed solely at helping Android monetization rates.
Google has also offered service such as app translation tools that allow developers of any language to create apps that can be used around the world.
As of November 11th this service is available to all Android developers. Also, Google has began teaming up with carriers in a variety of markets to bill customers for app purchases.
This allows revenue streams to come from multiple sources.
Android phones currently have 80% of the market share which means there are a lot of opportunities to monetize apps and start making real money.
Not So Fast!
This should all be taken with a grain of salt however. As iOS still offers a lot more money for developers in download revenue, In-App purchases ,and paid downloads.
This can be attributed to policy but also to who iPhone users are. They tend to be younger and more affluent.
About 41% of iPhone owners are in the $100,000 per year demographic whereas only 24% of Android owners bring home 6 digits.
This effects the amount of money iPhone users are willing to spend on apps and associated costs.
Also, the cost of Android phones has been declining to a point that 66% of Android phones are considered “junk phones”.
This means that Android devices are finding there way into the hands of a less wealthy demographic which leads to less money for developers.
Another cause for worry is that Android’s growth has been flatlining in the US as iOS continues to grow, however with the introduction of newer phones, this may help Android rebound.
These recent numbers show a slightly confusing picture, but it shows that Android has drastically closed the gap for app developers.
In the old days, or a couple years ago, if a developer wanted to make money, they had to be developing for iOS.
However, now many more developers are making a living off of Android and we will continue to see more innovation as the Android developer population increases.