The mobile apps universe is expanding, and that’s attracting more developer attention, and even more VC dollars.
First up: mobile market expansion. A joint survey conducted by Appcelerator and IDC shows that Google’s Android operating system is catching up with Apple in terms of app development. Focus on developing for tablet devices—Apple’s iPad, but also new Android-based tablets—is also on the upswing.
The Appcelerator-IDC Q1 2011 Mobile Developer Report shows developer interest in Android jumped 12 points in three months, to 74 percent of respondents saying that they are interested in developing for Android-based tablets. Interest in the BlackBerry Playbook, meanwhile, nearly doubled from 16 percent to 28 percent. Interest in developing for the iPad rose three points, to 87 percent.
Developer interest in Android mobile phones rose 5 percentage points, with 87 percent of respondents saying they are “very interested.” That’s edging close to the iPhone, at 92 percent.
The survey also showed that developers and businesses expect to triple their app development in 2011, and that the average developer is now building for four different devices.
Funding pours in for app developer platforms
Three creators of different platforms for app creation and enhancement have secured early-stage funding rounds from a range of venture capital and angel investors—a positive sign for both fellow developers in the sector and for the evolution of app development.
Celtra announced a $5 million in Series A funding from GrandBanks Capital and Fairhaven Capital. Celtra's AdCreator is a tool that brand managers, agencies and publishers can use for mobile ad creation, tracking and optimization. Mobile advertising is projected to grow to $2.5 billion by 2014.
appMobi also works with brand builders, agencies and publishers, offering a cloud-based platform-as-a-service tool that can help speed app development and deployment. The company has raised a $6 million Series B round from unnamed angel investors.
Meanwhile, mobile ad firm Smaato announced that it had closed $7 million in new funding led by Singapore’s EDBI, with participation from existing shareholders including global private equity firm aeris CAPITAL. Mobile publishers and app developers use the company’s mobile ad optimization platform, called SOMA (Smaato Open Mobile Advertising), to integrate with mobile ad networks on a global scale. The company plans to use the funding to extend its international presence, in particular into Asian markets via its facility in Singapore.