Developers expect Google+ and Apple's iCloud to have the greatest impact, of any recent announcements, on mobile growth and adoption — this according to Appcelerator and IDC, which surveyed 2,000-plus developers for a roundup of the current thinking in the mobile app space.
Other findings include the belief that Apple and Android have a perfectly equal chance of winning over the enterprise (given RIM and Microsoft are out of the picture); Facebook prevailing as the most turned-to social-networking app; and in-app purchases gaining ground on app store sales as a revenue model.
"While the mobile platform scene is largely the same this summer, the dynamics in the overall mobile ecosystem are highly fluid," states the report. "'Appification of everything' is translating into rapid innovation of the content, context, cloud storage, transactions, engagement, and overall utility of mobile experiences."
Other interesting findings:
- Two-thirds of respondents believe Google+ can catch up to Facebook in the social-networking space, with nearly half — pointing to features such as circles, sparks, hangouts, etc. — believing Google+ is more innovative. "
- Today, however, is a different story, as 83% of developers are using or plan to use Facebook in their apps this year. Twitter came in second, at 73%, while Foursquare was named by only 23% of developers. "That “upstarts” iCloud and Google+ can challenge entrenched players Amazon and Facebook shows how quickly these new capabilities will shake up what’s possible in mobile," states the report.
- Notifications (52%) were named as the most important social capability currently being designed into apps, followed by status updates (49%); login/identity (44%) and messaging (38%). No surprise, then, that improved notifications were named as the feature developers are most hoping for from iOS 5.
- Encouraging app "stickiness," there are increasing strategies toward monetizing ongoing usage. While in January 59% of respondents said that app sales was their preferred business model, in July that dropped to 50%.
This nearly equaled those moving toward an in-app purchase model, with the percentage rising from 42 in January to 43 in July, but with 50% saying they to plan to go the in-app route next year.
- Apple is viewed as having a security edge over Android and was found to be "leading with CIOs today when it comes to mobile deployments beyond Microsoft and RIM." Still, iOS and Android each received 44% of the vote, when developers were asked which platform they believed was best positioned to win in the enterprise.
When asked to rank which statements they believed to be most true, 30% said Android's market share lead will be key to its enterprise success, while 24% believe Apple's "consumerization of the user experience" will do the same for it.
- The iPhone is still the platform developers are most keen on, with 91% saying they're "very interested" in developing for it. The iPad followed (88%), and behind it came Android smartphones (87%) and Android tablets (74%). Notably, HTML5 was also named by 66% of respondents.
Noting the evolutions underway in the mobile engagement lifecycle, IDC and Appcelerator noted, "From customer acquisition/awareness to engagement, to monetization to loyalty, mobile leaders are focusing on leveraging their ubiquitous adoption levels into new areas that, in the end, significantly enlarge the overall value that’s possible on each of their platforms in the post-PC era."