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Mobile Developer Economics 2010 Report FINAL

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					©VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved.                           July 2010




Making sense of a fragmented world
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond

Insights and analysis from the definitive mobile developer survey
Plus benchmarks on the platform development experience




        Created by                          Sponsored by
            Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




Behind Mobile Developer Economics 2010                                        Contents
Andreas Constantinou, Research Director                                       About this research                         4
Elizabeth Camilleri, Research Partner
                                                                              The migration of developer mindshare       8
Matos Kapetanakis, Marketing Manager
                                                                              Taking applications to market              15
About VisionMobile                                                            The building blocks of mobile              28
                                                                              applications
VisionMobile is a market analysis and strategy firm
delivering market know-how to the mobile industry. We                         The role of networks in taking apps to     38
offer research reports, industry maps, training courses                       market
and advisory services on under-the-radar market sectors                       Appendix 1: Research Methodology           46
and emerging technologies.
                                                                              Appendix 2: Comparative platform           50
VisionMobile Ltd.                                                             benchmarks
90 Long Acre, Covent Garden,                                                  Appendix 3: Developer contests and         55
London WC2E 9RZ                                                               standards groups
+44 845 003 8742

www.visionmobile.com/blog

Follow us: @visionmobile
Contact us: hello@visionmobile.com
                                                                            See also
License                                                                     Mobile Industry Atlas: your competitive
                                                                            landscape of the mobile ecosystem, mapping
Copyright © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved.
                                                                            1,100+ companies across 69 market sectors.
                                                                            Available in wallchart and PDF format.
Licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution 3.0 License.
                                                                            www.visionmobile.com/maps
Any reuse or remixing of the work should be
attributed to the VisionMobile Developer
Economics Report sponsored by Telefonica
Developer Communities.



Feedback?
For comments, feedback and more information:
www.DeveloperEconomics.com


Disclaimer
VisionMobile believes the statements contained in this
publication to be based upon information that we
consider reliable, but we do not represent that it is
accurate or complete and it should not be relied upon as
such. Opinions expressed are current opinions as of the
date appearing on this publication only and the
information, including the opinions contained herein, are
subject to change without notice.

Use of this publication by any third party for whatever
purpose should not and does not absolve such third party
from using due diligence in verifying the publication’s
contents. VisionMobile disclaims all implied warranties,
including, without limitation, warranties of
merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.
VisionMobile, its affiliates and representatives shall have
no liability for any direct, incidental, special, or
consequential damages or lost profits, if any, suffered by
any third party as a result of decisions made, or not
made, or actions taken, or not taken, based on this
publication.                © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities     2
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




Foreword
Developer Economics 2010 is a global research report delving into all aspects of mobile
application development, across 400+ developers segmented into eight major platforms: iOS
(iPhone), Android, Symbian, BlackBerry, Java ME, Windows,Phone, Flash/Flash Lite, and
mobile web (WAP/XHTML/CSS/Javascript). The report provides an unprecedented range of
insights into all the touchpoints of mobile app development, from selecting a platform to
pocketing the profits.

Research was conducted between January and June 2010. It was carried out by a team of
three researchers, five interviewers, and eight mobile app developers. This major research
project represents a first, in terms of the depth and breadth of the research into mobile
developer attitudes and expectations. Our hope is that this report will be seminal in forging
bridges between the two sides of the ecosystem: the mobile industry decision makers, and the
mobile application developers.

Andreas, Eli, Matos & team at VisionMobile
Follow us on twitter: @visionmobile




A word from our sponsor, Telefonica Developer Communities
Welcome to “Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond”.

Telefonica has always sought to base our roadmap on a clear understanding of the wants and
needs of developers. We conducted comprehensive developer research in both 2008 and
2009, and we have used the insight gained as the foundation for our current and future
developer community plans. Working with VisionMobile to create “Developer Economics
2010 and Beyond” was a natural evolution of this process.

For a long time we have felt the industry has been lacking research that credibly tackled the
key issues facing developers. “Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond” was an ambitious
project. I am confident that due to the quality of the participants and the breadth of the
research, this project has uncovered many of the key issues in application development today.

The participants represent 53 countries and 290 individual companies. More than 40 percent
of these respondents have at least five years experience in developing apps, while 78 percent
have been developing apps for more than 12 months. Participants include almost 20 Forum
Nokia Champions, three Android Developer Challenge Finalists, two Handango Champions,
winners of the Vodafone Summer of Widgets Contest, NavTeq Global LBS challenge, the Flash
Lite Developer Challenge, and the Blackberry Developer Challenge.

I’m delighted that through Telefonica’s support of this project the results can be freely
distributed.

This report breaks new ground, and as such I feel it opens as many questions as it answers. I
would encourage you to feedback your opinions on the findings at
www.developereconomics.com. If you are a mobile developer and would like to be involved in
next year’s report, please contact VisionMobile at hello@visionmobile.com.

James Parton, Head of Developer Marketing, Telefonica
June 2010
Follow me here: @jamesparton
http://www.o2litmus.co.uk/o2blog/




                © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   3
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




About this Research

Developer Economics 2010 provides insights into platform selection, application
planning, code development and debugging, as well as support, go-to-market
channels, promotion, revenue generation, and hot topics such as the role of open
source and network operators.

The objectives behind this research were to analyse the mobile developer experience
from two very different angles:

    1. Survey the perceptions of mobile developers across the eight major platforms -
    Android, iOS (iPhone), BlackBerry, Symbian, Windows Phone, Flash/Flash Lite,
    Java ME and mobile web (WAP/XHTML/CSS/JavaScript) – and through a
    balanced combination of online surveys and telephone interviews.

    2. Benchmark the app development experience across four platforms
    (iOS/iPhone, Symbian, Android, Java ME) through hands-on development of
    nine mini applications.

The survey methodology, developer distribution across platforms and regions, as well
as the benchmark methodology appears in Appendix 1.



Key messages

•   Commercial Pragmatism. In the last two years, mobile software and
    applications have moved from the sphere of cryptic engineering lingo to part of
    the essential marketing playbook for mobile industry vendors. At the same time,
    software developers have grown to be much more knowledgeable, pragmatic and
    savvy about the economic implications of mobile development.

•   Market penetration is hands down the most important reason for selecting a
    platform, chosen by over 75 percent of respondents across each and every
    platform. Developers care more about addressable market and monetisation
    potential than any single technical aspect of a platform.

•   Platform concurrency. Most developers work on multiple platforms - on
    average, 2.8 platforms per developer, based on our sample of 400 respondents.
    Moreover, among iPhone and Android developers, one in five releases apps in
    both the Apple App Store and Android Market.

•   Mindshare migration. In the last two years, a mindshare migration has taken
    place, with mobile developers moving away from “incumbent” platforms, namely
    Symbian, Java ME and Windows Phone. The large minority (20-25 percent) of
    Symbian respondents who sell their apps via iPhone and Android app stores
    reveals the brain-drain that is taking place towards these newer platforms. The
    vast majority of Java ME respondents have lost faith in the write-once-run-
    anywhere vision. Moreover, anecdotal developer testimonials suggest that half of
    Windows Phone MVP developers (valued for their commitment to the platform)
    carry an iPhone, and would think twice before re-investing in Windows Phone.




                © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   4
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




•   Android as mindshare leader. Android stands out as the platform most
    popular with mobile developers. Our survey results suggest nearly 60 percent of
    all mobile developers recently developed on Android, assuming an equal number
    of respondents with experience across each of eight major platforms (see research
    methodology in Appendix 1). iOS (iPhone) is second in terms of developer
    mindshare, outranking Symbian and Java ME, which were in pole position in
    2008.

•   Mindshare vs addressable market disconnect. Platform characteristics
    could not be more diverse across installed base and number of apps, revealing a
    disconnect between developer mindshare and addressable market for each
    platform. For example, the Symbian operating system is deployed in around 390
    million handsets (Q2 2010), and claims over 6,000 apps, while Apple’s iPhone
    has seen 30x more applications while being deployed at just 60 million units over
    the same period.

•   Developer bias. Most developers have a head-strong affinity towards the
    platform(s) they have invested time in, which distorts the perception of platform
    characteristics; across all eight major mobile platforms we surveyed, respondents
    felt that the best aspect of their platform was the large market penetration, even if
    the actual market penetration was relatively small.

Market-related insights

•   Market channels that were once mainstream, pre-2008, today take only a
    small chunk of the go-to-market pie for mobile apps. Operator portals and on-
    device preloading through OEM or operator deals is the primary channel to
    market for fewer than five percent of mobile developers surveyed. Our findings
    show that developers resort to either ‘native’ app stores, or to direct download via
    their own websites – in addition to the traditional model of bespoke app
    development.

•   Planning techniques are ubiquitous for application developers. Over 90
    percent of respondents use some form of planning technique, such as beta testing
    or peer reviewing, for deciding on the target user segment or application features.
    However, given the hundreds of thousands of mobile apps, we believe that
    efficient (crowd-sourced) app testing is considerably under-served.

•   App stores have reduced the average time-to-shelf by two thirds: from 68 days
    across traditional channels, to 22 days via an app store, according to our research.
    Moreover, app stores have reduced the average time-to-payment by more than
    half; from 82 days across traditional channels, to 36 days via an app store. On
    average, it takes 55 days to get paid via an operator channel, or a whooping 168
    days when on-device pre-loading via a handset manufacturer.

•   Short-head app stores. Despite the hype, there is little use or availability of
    app stores outside the Apple and Android platforms. Only five percent of Java
    and just over 10 percent of Windows Phone respondents reported using an app
    store as a primary distribution channel.

•   Discovery bottleneck. The key challenge reported by mobile developers is the
    lack of effective marketing channels to increase application exposure and
    discovery. Moreover, half of respondents are willing to pay for premium app store
    placement. Despite their commercial savvy, developers have not taken application
    marketing into their own hands.



                © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   5
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




•   Certification. The most important challenge in app certification is its cost; more
    than 30 percent of respondents who certify their apps report the high cost of the
    certification process as the number one challenge. The economics – often 100s of
    dollars per certification – do not work for low-cost apps, but only for mega-
    productions.

•   Dubious long tail economics. App stores are young and surrounded by a hype
    wave that distorts the reality of average per-capita monetisation. Only five
    percent of respondents reported very good revenues, above their expectations.
    Moreover, nearly 60 percent of iPhone respondents had not reached their
    revenue targets.

•   Popular revenue models. Ad-funded models are only secondary revenue
    sources for developers employing app store and portal-based channels. Despite
    the hype, our research found ad-funded models lagging much behind tried and
    tested pay-per-download models. Subscription models, meanwhile, mainly apply
    where the application is distributed via an operator or content aggregator portal;
    they have made limited inroads into app stores.

•   Role of operators. Mobile developers view network operators as bit-pipes.
    Nearly 80 percent of respondents think that the role of network operators should
    be to deliver data access anywhere/anytime, while only 53 percent considered
    their role to be delivering voice calls.

•   Operator support. The majority of developers had not interacted directly with
    operators, but were very opinionated towards the lack of support. Almost 70
    percent of respondents thought there was little or no developer support from
    network operators. Moreover, industry standards, consortia and joint initiatives
    (including OMTP and WAC) appear to have captured very little developer
    mindshare.

Technical-related insights

•   Learning curve and efficiency. The learning curve varies greatly across
    mobile platforms. On average, the Symbian platform takes 15 months or more to
    learn, while for Android the average reported time is less than six months.
    Moreover, Symbian is much more difficult and time consuming to program than
    iOS (iPhone), Android or Java ME; our benchmarks show that for developing
    nine different typical applications, a Symbian developer needs to write almost
    three times more code than an Android developer, and twice as much code as an
    iPhone developer.

•   Development environment. From a technical perspective, top pain points for
    mobile emulators and debuggers are slow speed and poor target device mirroring.
    Top pain points for development environments (IDEs) are the absence of an app
    porting framework, and poor emulator integration.

•   Debugging. In terms of debugging, our benchmarking shows that Android has
    the fastest debugging process, compared with iPhone, Symbian and Java ME.
    Debugging in Symbian takes up more than twice the time it takes on Android.

•   UI tools. Ability to build compelling UIs is still far from the reach of most mobile
    developers. Around 50 out of 100 Symbian, BlackBerry and Windows Phone per-
    platform respondents are annoyed with the difficulty in creating great UIs.




                © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   6
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




•   Support. Our research indicates that the majority of developers (more than 80
    percent of respondents) rely on community or unofficial forums for support
    during software development, while websites are used for support by only 40
    percent of respondents.

•   Hidden device APIs. Access to unpublished or ‘hidden’ device APIs is a control
    point for platform vendors, but it is also what developers seem to be willing to pay
    for – in fact, more so than any other type of technical support. We believe that
    platform vendors could benefit from tiered SDK programs, where privileged
    SDKs are available to developers on a subscription plan.

•   Network APIs. Operator network API programs have so far failed to appeal to
    developers. Only five percent of respondents thought that the role of network
    operators should be to expose network APIs. Yet more than half would pay for
    billing APIs, followed by messaging and location APIs.

•   Open source. On average, 86 percent of respondents who use open source at
    work use it within development tools such as Eclipse. Android and iPhone
    developers are three times more likely to lead open source communities,
    compared to Symbian, revealing the contrasting pedigree of the developer
    communities. The single key drawback to open source reported by 60 percent of
    respondents was the confusion created by open source licenses; we believe
    education on open source realities can be used as a competitive advantage for
    developer programs launched by operators and OEMs.




                © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   7
         Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




Part 1

The Migration of Developer Mindshare




                         © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   8
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




Part 1. The Migration of Developer Mindshare

Software has played a critical role in transforming the mobile industry since the
beginning of the century. Since 2008, mobile software and applications have moved
from the sphere of cryptic engineering lingo to part of the essential marketing
playbook for mobile industry vendors. Mobile industry players are now vying to win
software developer mindshare, in order to add value on top of their devices and
networks.

The evolution of mobile software 2000-2015

The mobile industry’s relationship with software has evolved through three distinct
phases.

The Dark Ages (2000-2004). The first five years witnessed the hype of the
mobile Internet and the shift of power – from hardware features to software smarts,
and from manufacturer control to network operator control. The incumbent mobile
platforms – Symbian, Windows Smartphone, PalmOS, Java ME and BREW – were
then seen as the one-way street for manufacturers to ‘open up’ their phones to the
possibilities of the Internet and to modernise their aging legacy platforms. Operating
systems were open simply by virtue of published APIs. Mobile development was in
the Dark Ages, with information on routes to market and monetisation available only
to those working within the inner circles of the mobile industry.

The Renaissance period (2005-2009). The next five years witnessed the hype of
the smartphone, the launch of iconic experience products, the app store phenomenon
and the displacements caused by open source. New mobile platforms like BlackBerry,
Android and iOS opened their doors to developers, while the incumbents
transformed (Symbian Foundation) or withered in popularity (PalmOS and Java
ME). Mobile widget platforms allowed web applications to be first class citizens.
Open source disrupted both the operating system business (killing off UIQ and
MOAP, and sidelining Windows Phone) and also the browser business, displacing the
top two browser vendors, Teleca and Openwave. This era proved that it’s not enough
to have open APIs; an open, streamlined developer-to-consumer channel for
applications, popularly known as an “app store”, is also essential. Mobile
development moved to the Renaissance period, in which developers are much more
knowledgeable – and pragmatic – about the commercial reality of mobile
development.

The Industrial Revolution era (2010-2014). The next five years will completely
remap the mobile industry landscape. RIM and Apple, two verticalised companies,
move into the top five, displacing the incumbents, leaving one Finnish and two
Korean companies in pole position. The operating system landscape will consolidate
into two tiers; the top-end open to iconic products dominated by Apple and followed
by the iPhone clones powered by Android; and the feature-phone market where
licensable operating systems (Android and BREW) will finally allow handset OEMs to
move away from legacy RTOS platforms. Google’s Android will also power a diverse
range of new form factors, from picture frames to car dashboards, offering for the
first time a simplified platform from which to achieve convergent interconnected
services. In this age of Industrial Revolution, mobile developers will be responsible
for most of the innovation on mobile devices, and can act independently from the
mobile industry powers-that-be – OEMs or network operators – to get their
applications to market. In this age, developers have both power and choice.



                © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   9
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




The disparity between devices and applications

Mobile developers have a choice today; they can choose a platform among the many
available. The key technical and marketing characteristics of these platforms are very
diverse across installed base, number of apps, learning curve, development tools and
revenue potential.
One of the major disparities is between the device installed base and the number of
apps per platform. One would expect that the platforms deployed on the largest
number of devices would have the biggest number of applications. This couldn’t be
further away from the truth. For example, Java ME is available on around three
billion handsets, but the platform can boast less than half of the apps available for the
much younger Android, shipped in only 20 million devices as of the end of the second
half of 2010. Similarly, the Symbian operating system is deployed in around 390
million handsets (end of first half of 2010), and claims over 6,000 apps, while Apple’s
iOS has achieved 30x more apps over just 60M units.

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These disparities stem from the origins of the two ecosystems; on the left hand side of
the chart, the embedded software industry ecosystem has focused on enabling
handset OEMs to differentiate, while on the right hand side, the Internet/PC
ecosystem has focused on enabling developers to differentiate. The speed of evolution
of these two ecosystems is worlds part; since 2008, the number of applications for
the younger iPhone and Android platforms has skyrocketed compared to those for
the incumbent Symbian and Java ME platforms.

The migration of developer mindshare

In stock market terms, developer mindshare is one
of the hottest “commodities” in the mobile               “The [J2ME] platform
business, one whose “stock price” has ballooned in       has not evolved over the
the last two years. Platform vendors, handset
OEMs, network operators, hardware vendors, and           years and it is
infrastructure providers all want to contribute to       stagnating.”
mobile apps innovation. Yet, there are no “stock-
markets” for buying developer mindshare, and             Java ME Developer,
very few commercial bridges or matchmakers exist         India-based software house
between mobile developers and the mobile
industry, or between mobile developers and media brands.



                             © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                                                                                10
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




In general, software developers have a high affinity                        “Most Windows Phone
toward their mobile platform, and high switching                            developers have started
barriers exist, due to emotional attachment to their
platform and the time they have invested in it.                             developing for the iPhone
                                                                            – question is whether
In the last two years, a mindshare migration has                            they will go back to
taken place for mobile developers away from the
incumbent platforms Symbian, Java ME and
                                                                            developing for Windows
Windows Phone, while a substantial number of PC                             Phone. Half of the
software developers have flocked to iPhone and                              Microsoft Windows
Android. The large minority (20-25 percent) of                              Phone MVPs have an
Symbian respondents who sell their apps via iPhone
and Android app stores reveals the brain-drain that                         iPhone.”
is taking place towards these newer platforms. The
                                                                            Anonymous
vast majority of Java ME respondents have lost faith                        Microsoft mobile devices MVP
in the write-once-run-anywhere vision. Moreover,
anecdotal developer testimonials suggest that half of
Windows Phone MVP developers (valued for their
commitment to the platform) carry an iPhone and                             “It feels like we ’re back in
would think twice before re-investing in Windows                            the dot com era. Everyone
Phone.
                                                                            wants an iPhone
If we ascribe value according to developer                                  application.”
mindshare, or the number of developers who have
experimented or worked on any single mobile                                 Siddhart Agarwal,
platform, we find that Android has the highest                              CEO, Mobicule
valuation. Our survey findings suggest that
Android is the single platform that the most mobile
developers have experience with.

In our study, respondents were asked to base their        “Android is better than
answers on one of eight mobile platforms (up to two       other platforms in terms
responses were allowed per developer, each on a           of tools, platform
different platform). Among developers taking the
survey as iPhone developers, 56 percent had
                                                          features, and it’s easier to
recently worked on Android as well, while on the          stand out as a developer.”
contrary only 42 percent of those responding as
Android developers had recently worked on iPhone.         Aamir Yassen,
                                                          Grand Prize winner of
The next chart ranks each platform according to the       Nokia's Calling All Innovators
level of experience developers had on each platform.      Mobile Application Competition 2009
By normalising responses to 100 developers across
each of the eight major platforms in our survey, it
aims to show what the results might have been had we surveyed an equal number of
developers on each of the major platforms.

One can easily see that Android stands out as the top platform according to developer
experience, with close to 60 percent of developers having recently developed on
Android, assuming an equal number of developers with experience on each of eight
major platforms. iOS (iPhone) follows closely as the next most popular platform,
outranking both Symbian and Java ME, which until 2008 were in pole position.
We believe that Android’s lead in developer mindshare ahead of Apple’s iOS is down
to two factors: first the $99 fee developers have to pay in order to deploy their
applications, an entry barrier which reduces the innovation from developing
countries. Secondly, the very effective use of open source licensing as a marketing
technique to attract developers to Google’s Android.



                © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   11
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




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iPhone/iOS and Android platform adoption have benefited from positive-feedback-
loop effects; media and consumer brands are eager to leverage iPhone, iPad or
Android applications as a means of acquiring new customers, as part of a multi-
channel marketing strategy, or simply to add new revenue streams.
Software development firms have been inundated with requests for iOS and Android
apps. “It feels like we ’re back in the dot com era. Everyone wants an iPhone
application, while we get very few Symbian requests these days,” recounts Siddhart
Agarwal, CEO of Mobicule, a 30-strong mobile software development firm in
Mumbai.

The success of Apple and Google in the mobile space is the main contributor to the
exodus of innovation from the incumbent platforms.

Our research further indicates that Flash developer mindshare seems to be in decline,
despite Flash’s installed handset base of more than 1.3B devices. Adobe’s string of
execution failures has meant that the installed base for Flash Lite is extremely
fragmented, breaking the write-once-show-anywhere story for media brands who are
Adobe’s key customers. At the same time, Flash, the much-touted replacement for
Flash Lite, was more than 18 months late, while Flash Lite shipments have stagnated,
dropping from 43 percent to 15 percent of handsets sold from 1H09 to 2H09. This
leaves Adobe with a rapidly shrinking window of opportunity, primarily on Android
handsets, while having been banned from Apple’s growing empire, and slowly seeing
the adoption of HTML5, yet another replacement
threat for Flash.
                                                                                                Past performance in
Despite the investment Sun and Adobe put into                                                   device shipments is no
ensuring mass-deployment of Java ME and Flash                                                   indication of future
Lite, they have been marginalized in terms of
developer mindshare by Android and iPhone, the                                                  return in developer
new kids on the block. Taking a cue from the lingo of                                           mindshare.
financial investors, past performance in device
shipments is no indication of future return, where



                    © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                             12
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




developer mindshare is concerned.
                                                                                                        “Technical
Palm’s WebOS is familiar to fewer than five percent            considerations are
of mainstream platform developers, based on our                irrelevant. The choice                                                        of
platform-normalised sample of 400+ respondents.
But is HP’s acquisition of Palm able to increase the           platform is ALWAYS
relevance of WebOS to application developers? On               marketing-driven.”
one hand HP, the number two PC manufacturer in
terms of industry profit share according to Deutsche           Christophe Lassus,
                                                               Founder & Director
Bank, might inject enough capital to help propel               flirtymob.com
WebOS into an effective competitor to Android. On
the other hand, the marriage of HP and Palm misses
on key synergies; Web OS won’t offer HP clear
consumer differentiation, developer mindshare or operator subsidies, as we noted in
a recent article. As a result we remain pessimistic on the future of Palm’s Web OS.

Commercial savvy and market penetration
Most developers work on multiple platforms, on average 2.8 platforms per developer,
based on our sample of 400 respondents. Moreover, one in five iPhone and Android
respondents release apps in both the Apple App Store and Android Market.

The question is: in a market crowded with software platforms, how do developers
choose between iOS, Android, Symbian, Java ME, BlackBerry, Flash, Windows
Phone, mobile web, WebOS or Samsung Bada? For today’s mobile developer, market
penetration and revenue potential are hands down the two most important reasons
for selecting a platform.

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Large market penetration was chosen by 75 percent of respondents across each of the
eight major platforms we surveyed. Revenue potential was the second most
important reason, chosen by over half of respondents. In fact, market penetration
and revenue potential were more important than any single technical reason for
selecting a platform, revealing how mobile developers today are savvy about the
economic implications of mobile development.



                      © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                                    13
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




The availability of a large developer community ranked fourth among marketing
reasons for choosing a platform. It’s worth noting that the more experienced a
developer, the less important they view the developer community.

We should also note how few developers acknowledge that they choose a platform
because 'their boss said so'. Given that freelancers and students comprised only 20
percent of our respondent sample, one might have expected more developers to
choose this option.

Emotional bias
Despite the commercial savvy and rationalism, there is a lingering emotional bias
towards developers’ chosen platform. This is evident from two data points. Across all
eight major mobile platforms surveyed, respondents felt that the best aspect of their
platform was their large market penetration, even if the actual market penetration
did not bear this out. The emotional bias was also evident when we asked what type
of mobile apps will prevail in the next two years. Most developers chose the answer
that included their platform; most Android, Symbian and iPhone developers selected
"native apps" as prevailing, while mobile web developers chose "web apps" and Flash
developers mostly chose "cross-platform apps". Note that we consider Android as a
‘native’ operating system as Android apps cannot be ported on other operating
systems.

The only developers who thought that the grass is greener on the other side of the
fence were Java ME developers, of whom only a fraction believed in the future of
cross platform apps. One could say that the vast majority of Java ME developers have
lost faith in the write-once-run-anywhere vision.

One thing is clear; developer needs are extremely                             The vast majority of
varied by platform, and in some cases by region.
Anyone wanting to attract and retain developer                                Java ME developers
mindshare needs to build a two-way channel of                                 have lost faith in the
communication to understand what the ‘qualifiers’ are                         write-once-run-
versus the ‘decision clenchers’ for mobile developers.
                                                                              anywhere vision




                © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   14
         Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




Part 2

Taking Applications to Market




         ww




                         © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   15
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




Part 2. Taking Applications to Market

In this chapter we analyse the developer experience as the application goes to market:
planning, testing, certification, submission to market channel (e.g. an app store),
shelf placement, promotion, payment and revenue generation.

The decline of traditional go-to-market channels
Developers have a variety of channels through which to distribute their applications.
Yet market channels that were once mainstream pre-2008 are now taking only a
small chunk of the go-to-market pie for mobile apps. Operator portals and on-device
preloading through OEM or operator deals is the primary channel to market for fewer
than five percent of mobile developers. Our findings show that developers resort to
either ‘native’ app stores, or to direct download via their own websites, followed in
third position by the traditional model of bespoke app development.

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The preferred go-to-market channel for applications varies significantly by platform.
The vast majority of iPhone respondents designate an app store as their primary
channel for selling apps, followed by around 50 percent of the Android and Flash
developers. The most popular channel for Windows Phone developers is direct
download via the developer’s own web site. That almost half go this route hints at the
lack of effective go-to-market channels for Windows Phone apps. This dwarfs the
percentages of iPhone and Android respondents who use this channel (10 percent
each), since those two platforms have very prominent native app stores.

The app store phenomenon
If there’s a single reason for the mass-entrance of developers into the mobile market,
it is app stores. We view app stores as direct developer-to-consumer channels, i.e.
commercial conduits that streamline the submission, pricing, distribution and
retailing of applications to consumers. For a breakdown of key ingredients in the app
store recipe, see our Mobile Megatrends 2010 report. App stores have streamlined


                                                  © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                            16
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




the route to market for mobile applications, a route that was previously laden with
obstacles, such as lack of information, complex submission and certification
processes, low revenue shares and regional fragmentation.

Despite the hype, there is sporadic use of app stores outside the Apple and Android
platforms. Only four percent of Java respondents used App Stores as their primary
channel to market. Windows Phone and mobile web developers find app stores little
more relevant, with fewer than 10 percent of such respondents using one as a primary
channel for taking applications to market.

This contrasts completely with platforms that have ‘native’ app stores. Over 95
percent of iPhone respondents use the Apple App Store as their primary channel,
while the percentage of Android respondents using Android Market is just below 90.
Besides the mainstream use of native app stores by Android and iPhone developers, a
small outlier of developers use alternative app stores, such as SlideMe for Android, or
Cydia Store for iPhone. The findings also reveal a circa 20 percent cross-pollination
of platforms, i.e. iPhone developers producing Android applications and vice-versa.

In terms of the incumbent mobile platforms, around 75 percent of Symbian
respondents that use app stores, use the Nokia Ovi Store. The significant number
(20-25 percent) of Symbian developers who also use iPhone and Android app stores
reveals the brain-drain that is taking place towards these newer platforms. This is a
particularly critical migration of developer mindshare, considering that the Symbian
platform is the hardest to master. Thus, the size of developer investments on
Symbian being written off is substantial.

Java ME respondents utilise GetJar most often, followed by Nokia’s Ovi Store and the
traditional route of operator portals for retailing Java applications.

For BlackBerry and Windows Phone developers that use app stores, native app stores
are used by over 65 percent, with outliers using Handango, Handmark and Mobihand
to retail their apps. The main cross-platform App Stores, Handango and GetJar, were
used by an average of just over 10 percent of respondents across the eight major
platforms.

The next set of charts reveal the top three app stores
used by developers on each platform – in many                               “App stores like Ovi store
cases suggesting that developers are investing in                           should be promoted to
multiple platforms.                                                         people in rural areas
Besides the growth of apps, app stores are the
                                                                            (India) where there is a
cornerstone of another major transformation that                            large opportunity and
has taken place in the mobile industry: the mass-                           they should be
market use of mobile as the next marketing channel                          trained/informed about
beyond the Internet. We would argue that it was app
stores that triggered the influx of apps – not the
                                                                            downloading apps, usage
open source nature of Android, or the consumer sex                          etc.”
appeal of the iPhone.
                                                                            Kishore Karanala,
                                                                            Senior Software Engineer,
                                                                            Teleca India




                © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   17
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




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                           © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                                 18
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




App stores triggered the sheer growth in app numbers and diversity that led to the
cliché, “there’s an app for that”. Another cliché, “the screen is the app,” tells the other
half of the story. Combined, the app store and touchscreen were the two essential
ingredients behind mobile apps as the next mass-market channel beyond the
Internet. These two ingredients inspired just about every media and service company
to commission companion or revenue-driven apps as extensions to their traditional
online channels. In effect, this phenomenon fuelled the app economy, even beyond
what app store numbers alone suggest.

Time-to-shelf and time-to-payment
App stores have revolutionised time to market for applications. To research exactly
how radically the time to market for applications has changed since the introduction
of app stores, we analysed two parameters:

   • the time to shelf, i.e. how long it takes from submitting an application to that
     application being available for purchase

   • the time to payment, i.e. the length of time between an application being sold
     and the proceeds reaching the developer’s bank account
Our findings show that app stores have reduced the average time-to-shelf by two
thirds: from 68 days across traditional channels, to 22 days via an app store. These
traditional channels have been suffering from long, proprietary and fragmented
processes of application certification, approval, targeting and pricing, all of which
need to be established via one-to-one commercial agreements.

For example, placing an application on an operator portal takes more than two
months, due to the inflexibility of operator processes that are not designed with
smaller developers in mind. Moreover, to preload an application on a handset takes
more than three months. Meanwhile, three to six months before launch is the typical
timeframe for pre-loaded applications that are customised by an operator or third
party. As we shall see, it actually takes even longer to get paid for pre-loaded
applications, since royalty pay-outs by the operator or OEM are typically delayed by a
few more months, which represents the time the handsets spend in the channel.

Time-to-shelf also varies greatly per platform; our findings show Apple’s iOS as the
fastest platform for taking applications to market, at 24 days time-to-shelf,
irrespective of route to market. Windows Phone is almost on par with Android in
terms of average time-to-shelf. This may come as a surprise, given that 64 percent of
Android developers using an app store report that their apps take less than one week
to reach the shelf. However, the majority of Windows Phone developers make apps
available via their own websites, or direct to the customer who is commissioning the
application, and both of these routes to market are also fairly fast. Symbian
applications are by far the hardest to take to market, taking on average over 52 days
to reach the shelf from the time of submission – at the opposite end of the spectrum
from iPhone applications.

Our research shows how app stores have shortened the time for taking applications to
the virtual shelf by two thirds, compared to traditional channels. How about the time
it takes for developers to get paid, though? Too often, this is a make-or-break
question for mobile developers, as payment delays have a negative impact on cash
flow. For small developer shops, poor cash flow can break the bank.




                © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   19
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




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For developers choosing an app store to retail their apps, almost 60 percent get paid
within a month from the sale of the application. In contrast, when using traditional
channels, the time-to-payment increases substantially. On average it takes 55 days to
get paid via an operator channel, 69 days when preloading an app via an operator and
a whooping 168 days (5.5 months) when pre-loading an app via a handset
manufacturer.

All in all, app stores reduce the time-to-payment by more than half; from 82 days on
average in the case of traditional channels, to 36 days on average with app stores.

The bigger picture that emerges is that the developer’s choice of platform impacts the
time-to-market for applications, i.e. the length of time from completing an
application to getting the first revenues in. The iOS platform is fastest to go to market
with, particularly thanks to Apple’s streamlined App Store process, while Java ME
and Symbian are the slowest,due to the sluggishness of the traditional routes to
market used by these developers (in particular via commissioned apps and own-
website downloads).

Revenue models and monetisation
Mobile applications have evolved greatly from the days when the first mobile
platforms (Symbian, Java ME and BREW) were introduced in 2001-2 – both from a
technology as well as a commercial standpoint. Commercially, the routes to market
have been radically streamlined, as we discussed earlier, but revenue models have
seen only incremental change; pay-per-download (as introduced by Qualcomm’s
BREW circa 2002) is by far the most popular revenue model used by application
developers today, followed by one-off development fees for custom apps.

Our research shows that the choice of revenue model for mobile developers is a
question of the channel to market, as shown on the next graphs.




                   © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                       20
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




- App store applications are monetised primarily through pay-per-download models
(used by two thirds of respondents) and secondarily through ads or one-off fees for
custom applications.

- Apps distributed via web portals (developer, third-party or operator portals) utilise
either a pay-per-download revenue model or subscriptions, with ad-funded and one-
off development fees being less favoured.

- Apps preloaded on-device by operators or handset OEMs are typically monetised
via per-unit device royalties, plus some form of NRE fee (non-recurring engineering
or similar one-off fees). For OEM deals, support fees are typically charged.
Meanwhile, for operator deals, per-active-user revenue models are employed, in
which the application bundling is typically free, but the operator pays a higher fee for
each active user of the application.

- Commissioned apps are typically monetised through one-off fees, with support and
customisation fees also being common.

Ad-funded models are only secondary sources of revenue employed in app store and
portal-based channels. Despite the hype, our research found use of ad-funded models
lagging much behind tried and tested pay-per-download models. Subscription
models mainly apply when the application is distributed via an operator or content
aggregator portal; subscription models have made very few inroads into app stores.

We should also point out that based on our survey findings, the per-active-user
revenue model, despite having been much talked about in software circles as the next
step in the evolution of software monetisation, is in practice used only in operator
device-preload deals. However, we do maintain an optimistic outlook toward the
long-term adoption of per-active-user revenue models, as these can be directly
passed onto users as subscription fees, and therefore aligned with operator (and
service provider) incentives.




                © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   21
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




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                                          © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                                                      22
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




Planning an application
Application planning is a core part of taking an application to market. Our research
confirms that planning techniques are near-ubiquitous for application developers.
Over 90 percent of respondents use some form of technique for deciding on the target
user segment or planning application features. The key exception is companies that
engage in bespoke app development, and are contracted to execute specific
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    Q2"$(@=?=N(R/6$"*$8(2"8$%(P%$&+4$(P1;;1"*(ST%/)2+1"(:N=(R/6$"*$N(S"9(2*$(1%(%$;/U(1F(#0/*(.1%<(;2*#(%$#&/"(#0/*("1+6$N(



Internal beta testing is the most popular technique used by the vast majority (nearly
70 percent) of respondents, with beta testing with users and peer reviewing the next
most popular techniques. Only 20 percent of respondents use focus groups or
research of their own. Overall, North American developers are somewhat more
sophisticated in their application planning, with 97 percent using beta testing as a
standard part of application development and with broader use of a portfolio of
planning techniques as well.

Yet, small development firms have limited means today to
beta test and peer review their applications with a cross-                                                   “It's like going to a
section of representative users. Given the hundreds of                                                       record store with
thousands of mobile apps, we believe that efficient
(crowd-sourced) testing of apps in a global market of                                                        200,000 CDs. You’ll
users is considerably under-utilized. . This presents an                                                     only look at the top-
opportunity for the few solution providers in this segment                                                   10.”
– Mob4Hire and uTest.com, for example – but also for
network operators, who can generate a channel for testing                                                    Christopher Kassulke,
applications with end users, and provide an open                                                             CEO, HandyGames,
feedback support system back to developers.

Challenges with taking applications to market
Application distribution may be going through a renaissance period that began in
2008, with the direct-to-consumer model pioneered by Apple’s App Store. However,
taking applications to market is still plagued with numerous teething problems, as is
typical with nascent technology. There are four recurring issues reported by
developers: app exposure, app submission (and certification), low revenue share and
the challenges with app localisation.



                    © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                          23
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




Challenge 1. Application exposure
Our survey found the number one issue for mobile developers to be the lack of
effective marketing channels to increase application exposure, discovery and
therefore customer acquisition. This was an issue mostly for Flash and iPhone
developers, followed by Symbian, Android and Java ME developers. Developers
reported persistent challenges with getting traffic, customer visibility or in short
“being seen”. One developer put it succinctly: “It's like going to a record store with
200,000 CDs. You’ll only look at the top-10.”

The exposure bottleneck is new in mobile, but an age-old problem in fast moving
consumer goods (FMCG). With such large volumes of applications in stock, app
stores are taking on the role of huge supermarkets or record stores. As in any FMCG
market, app developers have to invest in promoting their products above the noise,
because supermarkets won’t.

Our research shows that in 2010, developers are relatively unsophisticated in
marketing their applications. More than half of developers surveyed use free demos
and a variety of social media, i.e. the 'de facto' techniques for application promotion.
Other techniques cited were magazines and influencing analysts or journalists, while
promotion through tradeshows was also deemed popular among a fifth of
respondents. Less than 30 percent of respondents invest in traditional marketing
media such as online advertising or professional PR services.

When asked about what type of marketing support they would be willing to pay for,
our survey found half of respondents willing to pay for premium app store placement.
This willingness varies greatly by platform, however; developers whose platform
features a ‘native’ app store (iPhone, Android and to a lesser extent Symbian) are
almost twice as likely to pay for premium app store
placement, compared with developers whose                        “In past efforts with third
platforms do not (Java and mobile web) as well as                party apps Nokia has
Windows Phone. This finding indicates that direct-to-            been much too lenient
consumer distribution channels are necessarily
crowded and therefore developers will be willing to              towards piracy.”
pay a premium to be able to stand out from the crowd
                                                                 Sander Van der Wal,
– much like how FMCG brands pay for premium shelf                Owner, mBrain Software,
space in supermarkets.

Yet with free applications being the norm, developers
have to become more creative with promotion and advertising; free applications
make up more than half of the Android Market catalogue and 25 percent of the Apple
App Store catalogue, according to different reports by Distimo and AndroLib.

There are two types of solutions emerging to cover the market gap of application
promotional services. Firstly, there are app discovery and recommendation startups
(e.g. Apppopular, Appolicious, Appsfire, Apprupt, Chorus, Mplayit and Yappler),
which help users discover applications based on their past preferences or on explicit
recommendations from the user’s social circle. Secondly, there are white label app
store providers like Ericsson that are moving to app mall (shop-in-shop)
infrastructure. App malls will allow the creation of 1,000s of application mini-stores,
each targeted to niche sub-segments, much like Amazon mini-stores.

However, the gap in application marketing services is widening in 2010 due to the
rapid growth in application volume, which is outpacing the appearance of app
discovery and recommendation solutions. We believe that application marketing and
retailing services remain the biggest opportunity in mobile applications today. The



                © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   24
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




opportunity is particularly fit for network operators, who have a great level of insight
into their customer segments (incl. age bracket, spend bracket and roaming profile)
and can offer segment targeting for mobile applications as a service to developers.

Challenge 2. Application submission and certification.
Application submission and certification are two of
the top five challenges for mobile developers,                                                         “The whole signing
according to our survey.
                                                                                                       process and its
Overall, the most important issue related to                                                           implications are the
certification that was raised by nearly 40 percent of                                                  biggest threat to J2ME
respondents is its cost. In some cases, developers
report that the certification cost rises to a few
                                                                                                       in the future… no one
hundred dollars per app certification (not per app).                                                   but the signing
Such economics do not work for low-cost apps, but                                                      authorities benefit.”
only for mega-application productions. Java
developers, for example, report that Java Signed is                                                    Steven Jankelowitz,
impractical; developers have to purchase separate                                                      Java developer
certificates based on the certificate authority
installed on the handset – and certificates are
expensive.


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Moreover, 31 percent of respondents believe that approval of the application takes
too long, while 30 percent think that signing applications is complicated.

Signing the application was a challenge for one third of the Symbian and Android
respondents that certified their apps. For iPhone respondents this issue was much
less important, since only 15 percent of them reported it as such.




                        © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                          25
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




For iPhone developers, the key challenge was not the
cost of certification, but the length of time it took for                   “[Apple’s App Store has]
their apps to be approved, as well as the opacity of                        unwritten rules for
the approval process, according to anecdotal                                certifying apps”
reports. Others cited the lack of transparency in the
acceptance process, which is subject to “Apple's                            iPhone developer
whims,” or based on unclear acceptance criteria in
the case of Java ME.

Challenge 3. Dubious long-tail economics
The mobile app economy is nothing short of hyped from the successes that have come
into the limelight – the $1m per month brought in by the Tap Tap Revenge social
app, or the $125K in monthly ad revenues reported by BackFlip Studios on their
Paper Toss app. Yet the economics for long-tail developers – i.e. the per-capita profit
for the average developer – remain dubious at best.

At least 25 percent of Symbian, Flash, Windows Phone and Java ME respondents
reported low revenue share as one of the key go-to-market challenges. Most app
stores are still playing catch-up to Apple in terms of the revenue share they are
paying out to the developer. As one developer put it, “There has been a bastardisation
of the 70/30 rule which has been mis-marketed by app stores; for example with Ovi
Store, where operators often get 50 percent of the retail price, so developers gets 70
percent [of the remainder]”. Unsurprisingly, the revenue share was not a major
challenge for iPhone or BlackBerry respondents.

Moreover, less than 25 percent of respondents stated that revenue potential was one
of the best factors of their platform; on average revenue potential ranked last among
“best aspects” of each platform, showing how mobile software development is still
plagued by poor monetisation in 2010.

The dubious long-tail economics are reinforced by                           “There has been a
our findings on developer revenue expectations.
Only five percent of the respondents reported very
                                                                            bastardisation of the
good revenues, above their expectations, while 24                           70/30 rule which has
percent said their revenues were poor. Note that we                         been mis-marketed by
didn’t poll for absolute revenues, because of the                           App Stores”
discrepancies across regions, different revenue
models and distance of developers from revenue                              Flash Lite developer
reporting.

At the same time, there is a general consensus of
optimism; 27 percent of respondents said that their
revenues were as projected, while another 36 percent said they should be reaching
their revenue targets.

There are two effects at play that make for poor long-tail economics. Firstly, the
number of ‘garage developers’ who are creating apps for fun or peer recognition but
not money; and secondly, the noise created by the ‘app crowd’ which prompts
developers to drop prices in order to rise to the top of their pack.

There are also platform-specific effects: the unpredictability of revenues, in the case
of the Apple’s pick-and-choose culture for featured apps; and, the limitations of paid
app support for Android, where paid applications are only available to users in 13
countries out of 46 countries where Android Market is available, as of June 2010.
Android has also been jokingly called a “download, buy, and return business”,


                © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   26
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




referring to how you can get a refund for any paid Android application without
stating a reason within 24 hours of purchase – a policy that allows many users to
exploit the system. In addition, the applications that are published on Android
market are not curated by Google, resulting in 100s of applications that are low
quality or are infringing copyright, thereby making it harder for quality, paid apps to
make money. Even in economically healthier ecosystems like Apple’s App Store, a
standalone developer can hope to sell in total an average of 1,000-2,000 copies of an
application at an average price of $1.99, which is barely justifying the many man-
months of effort that it takes to develop a mobile application by today’s standards.




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We maintain that the monetisation potential for the long tail of apps won’t be
realised until effective policies are put in place to curtail the adoption of free apps –
for example by enforcing a minimum $0.01 app price. Psychology experiments have
proven time and time again how our perception of value is distorted when the price
drops to zero. It is time for app store owners to borrow from cognitive psychology to
help boost the long-tail developer economy, rather than compete on number of
downloads.

Challenge 4. Localisation.
Another issue highlighted was the lack of localised apps. One developer said
characteristically, “There is a big problem for developers in markets with low
penetration of English as a second language. Since the platforms are poorly adjusted
to localisation, the costs of development grow and thus profitability and
attractiveness [drop]. It would be great to see platforms that take action towards
easing the challenge of localisation.” The lack of localised apps for non-English
markets is exacerbated for Android. A search on AndroLib reveals that out of the
approximately 60,000 apps on Android Market, there are only about 1,400 apps
localised in Spanish and only 1,800 localised in French, as of early June 2010.

The lack of localised apps on Android presents the number one opportunity for
alternative app stores like SlideMe, AndAppStore and Mobihand, i.e. to attract
communities of regional app developers, or to facilitate localisation of apps to
different languages – in other words, to reach where Android Market doesn’t reach.


                   © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                       27
         Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




Part 3

The Building Blocks of Mobile Applications




                         © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   28
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




Part 3. The Building Blocks of Mobile Applications

In this chapter we analyse the developer experience during the many touchpoints of
application development; learning the platform, coding and debugging the
application, building the UI and getting support. We finally look at issues around the
adoption of open source.

The fun side of mobile development
Contrary to traditional marketing acumen, developers still care about the ‘experience’
and ‘fun’ of developing, as opposed to purely taking an interest in the marketability or
revenue potential arising from a platform.

The most important technical reason for selecting a platform was "Quick to code and
prototype", selected by almost half of respondents. This finding highlights how the
‘fun’ aspect of software development (trying things out and getting results quickly) is
most important to mobile developers.

We also found that iPhone and Flash developers ranked a platform's ability to build
apps with great UIs two times as high, compared to their peers. The inverse is also
telling – Symbian and Windows Phone are less appreciative at the importance of UI
for mobile apps. Moreover, developers who are new to mobile tend to deem being
able to build apps with great UIs to be much more important than do more
experienced developers.


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                      © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                                         29
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




The varying characteristics of the mobile development                                                       “Mobile web is the
experience surfaced in our survey when we asked
about the best aspects of each platform. Android,                                                           easiest platform to
Flash and mobile web respondents were impressed by                                                          learn, adapt and
their platform's ability to code and prototype quickly.
iPhone respondents were mostly happy with iOS's                                                             develop for, esp. for a
ability to create a great user experience for their apps.                                                   company that does not
Lastly, Windows Phone respondents were pleased
with the platform's emulator and debugger.
                                                                                                            have a background in
                                                                                                            mobile development.”
The pains with mobile development                                                                           mobile web developer
Bigger discrepancies in the development experience
across platforms surfaced when we asked what
developers hate most about their platform.

The ability to build compelling UIs is still far from the reach of most mobile
developers. Around 50 out of 100 Symbian, BlackBerry and Windows Phone per-
platform respondents are annoyed with the difficulty in creating great UIs.

The other key dislikes cited across platforms were the app porting experience, limited
hardware API support and the complexities of code development.


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Respondents focusing on the Java platform are the most dissatisfied with their
platform, lamenting its limited hardware API support, the challenges in porting apps
and the difficulty in creating great UIs. Java developers also seem disillusioned with
the promise of cross-platform support; most Java developers thought that the future
of app development lies in native, not cross-platform environments.

A CEO at a games development house reported how the Java apps market is only
suited for the short-head (as opposed to the long-tail) of developers: “You need to
customise [your app] for 1,000+ variants and operator customisations.” He
continued to explain how the mindshare shift to Android and iPhone are causing



                     © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                                          30
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




Java apps to stagnate: “Two years ago, network operators reviewed 20-30 new [Java]
titles a week. Now they are down to five titles a week. There is not enough [Java]
content [available].”

Symbian developers find it challenging to create great UIs, and are also dissatisfied
with the long development times needed to create apps in Symbian. In contrast, they
complain the least about both hardware and user data API access.

It comes as no surprise that iPhone respondents have the least number of reasons to
be dissatisfied with their platform. The only factor that troubles them to a limited
extent (30 percent of respondents) was the need to port their apps. Hardly any
iPhone respondents complained about the App Store, the revenue potential or the
number of iPhones in the market.

Finally, Android developers are a little concerned about the platform's low device
count and, to a lesser extent, tech support & documentation, the challenges of porting
apps and the difficulty of creating great UIs.

Learning curve and development experience
The learning curve of mobile platforms varies widely, a consequence of varied design
objectives. At the two opposite ends of the spectrum are Symbian, a platform
conceived in the mid-90s for embedded devices, and Android, a platform designed in
the mid-90s for developing connected applications for mass-market smartphones.

Our research confirms that Symbian is by far the toughest platform to learn, with
responses indicating that on average the Symbian platform takes 15 months or more
to learn, compared to an average of 7.5 months for other mobile platforms. The slow
learning curve on Symbian has a direct impact on the higher resource investments
made by mobile software firms to cultivate or hire expensive Symbian talent. At a
time when the demand for Android and iPhone custom development is booming, the
cost of Symbian investments is getting harder to justify for software firms.

Diametrically opposite to Symbian is Android, which is the easiest platform to learn,
taking on average less than six months. Twenty-
two percent of Android respondents state that it
took them less than a month to learn the                  “Since I come from a
intricacies of this platform. Apart from Android,         Java ME background, it
the easiest platforms to master are iPhone, Flash
and mobile web.                                           was initially difficult to
                                                                          understand iOS's syntax
Between the two extremes, Blackberry
development takes on average 10-11 months to                              and language. But any
learn properly, followed by Windows Phone at                              developer who knows the
nine months, Java ME at 8.5 months and iPhone
at just over seven months.
                                                                          basics can definitely pick
                                                                          it up.”
We also analysed the coding experience through
hands-on development and debugging of nine                                iPhone Developer
                                                                          Mobicule Technologies, India
reference applications across Symbian, iOS,
Android and Java ME.

Symbian emerged as needing the most tedious development effort to accomplish
even simple tasks. For developing nine typical applications, a Symbian developer
needs to write almost three times more code than an Android developer. iPhone is
based on a complex C-like programming paradigm, but its drag & drop design


                © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   31
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




environment allows for far more effective coding, resulting in half as much code
authoring as Symbian. Java ME is lagging slightly behind Android in terms of the
overall coding effort.


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Our benchmarking analysis further shows that debugging on Android is faster than
on any other platform – and two times faster than debugging on Symbian. Second
runners to Android are iPhone and Java ME, in terms of debugging effort. For details
into our platform benchmarks, see Appendix 2.

Development environments and their challenges
Our research indicated that the most prevalent issue with the development
environment (IDE) is the absence of an app porting framework – particularly for
Symbian and Android developers. However, it’s worth noting that the
“fragmentation” problem space is targeted by a number of vendors, including J2ME
Polish, Javaground, Mobile Distillery, Mobile Sorcery, OpenPlug, Recursions
software and Rhomobile (for a complete list of vendors providing developer tools, see
VisionMobile’s Industry Atlas on page 2 of this report).

Developers further report a number of issues with the emulator and debugger, both
essential parts of the development toolkit. The single most important
emulator/debugger pain point, as chosen by more than 40 percent of respondents,
was its speed. A slow-start emulator was a very
common problem, with a whopping 60 percent of
Symbian and BlackBerry respondents reporting                “What I don't like about
this as the main fault with their emulators, a view         iOS is that there is a long
also shared by more than half of our respondents
for Android. On the opposite end of the spectrum,           signing process.. and we
hardly any iPhone or mobile web respondents had             need to purchase a 99
this issue.
                                                                                                     dollar IDE in order to
Another common complaint across all platforms                                                        develop an application.”
was that the emulator does not accurately mirror
the target device, an issue cited by more than 25                                                    iPhone Developer
percent of respondents across platforms. The                                                         India
performance of device emulation on mobile


                      © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                         32
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




platforms has improved over the years, but is still a
moving target, as actual devices will always have                                             “There's no standard
differences in implementation, and the latest                                                 emulator or debugger for
hardware features that may not have been ‘baked’
into the emulator binary.                                                                     [mobile web]..and error
                                                                                              messages are hard to
All in all, development tools are a critical component
of the development experience, but they leave a lot                                           figure out.”
to be desired. The next table summarises the four
                                                                                              mobile web developer
key challenges in developer tools across all eight
platforms, and the degree to which they were
encountered by our survey respondents.

Where do developers reach for technical support?
Developer support programs vary widely across platforms. While some platform
vendors have invested heavily in supporting
developers through official portals (e.g. Nokia and
Qualcomm BREW), other vendors have let the                “Nothing wrong with
community support itself. For example, Google has         XCode at all - brilliant
set-up forums for Android support, but seldom
responds directly to developer queries.
                                                          IDE that's very fast (esp.
                                                                                              compared to Eclipse).”
The vast majority – more than 80 percent – of
developers rely on community or unofficial forums                                             Alistair Phillips,
                                                                                              iPhone Developer
for support during software development. Android,
Java and Symbian developers are the most reliant
on community support. Vendor websites are used
for support by only 40 percent of respondents.


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         3#-&.)1$77"0')                                                                                   ?)"/)0317"%53%'1)

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                    © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                       33
               Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




         Platform scorecard: Feature highlights in IDE and emulator/debugger by Platform

                                                                                                                  Windows
                          Symbian     iOS (iPhone)     Android       Java ME       BlackBerry      Flash Lite               Mobile Web
                                                                                                                   Phone

                                                                 Features

Reliable emulator /
debugger and full IDE

Can code and
prototype quickly

Great user experience
for my apps

Development is quirky
or time-consuming

Limited hardware API
support

Difficult to create
great UIs

                                                            IDE and Emulator

Expensive IDE


Slow-start emulator




 Key: % of
 respondents
                                    1-20%                21-40%                  41-60%                 61-80%              81-100%




               Developer events are a means of getting support used by around 20 percent of
               respondents, with Windows Phone, mobile web and Flash developers most likely to
               attend events to get up to speed with their platform. On the contrary the current
               services offered by platform vendors, such as email or premium telephone support,
               are not well received by developers, with fewer than 5 percent of respondents using
               such services.

               The findings point out how the most efficient way for platform vendors to support
               developers is to support the communities first, and let communities support
               themselves. At the same time this should not be taken to the extreme, as in the case
               of Google, which seldom responds to direct developer queries on Android official
               forums.




                               © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities        34
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




Our research uncovered further opportunities for platform vendors in paid support
programs. Access to unpublished or ‘hidden’ APIs is a control point for platform
vendors, but it is also what developers seem to be willing to pay for – in fact more so
than any other type of technical support. Almost 40 percent of respondents are
willing to pay for hidden API access, since this would offer them a competitive
advantage or allow them to access otherwise unsupported functionality within the
device internals. This finding suggests that platform vendors could establish tiered
SDK programs, where privileged SDKs are available to developers on a subscription
plan. Reaching out to support developers in this manner could create additional
revenue streams.


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Thirty-four percent of developers surveyed seem willing to pay for device prototypes
and loaner programs, a view shared irrespective of the mobile platform developers
are targeting. Comparatively few developer programs today offer device loaner and
testing facilities, which are simple to set-up, yet
monetisable and essential for reducing time-to-
market for applications. As such, it’s surprising that      iOS, Symbian and Windows
device loaner programs are not widely established           Phone respondents are the
across OEMs and operator developer programs                 most willing to pay for
today.
                                                                                                           technical support.
Another interesting insight we came to is that iOS,
Symbian and Windows Phone respondents are the
most willing to pay for technical support – even if
the revenue potential offered across these platforms                                                       “Support is an issue.. takes a
is very different. Symbian and Windows Phone
respondents typically work for large companies                                                             bit longer since you have to
(around 40 percent of these respondents work for                                                           go through the community.”
companies employing more than 100 people) – and
therefore would be more prone to getting paid                                                              Jason Delport,
                                                                                                           Paxmodept
support. In contrast, most iOS respondents are
either freelancers or work in small (<10 people)



                     © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                                        35
  Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




  software shops. This finding highlights the market                                                                  “[I would pay for] any kind
  gap of paid support services for the iPhone and iPad                                                                of tech support from
  developer ecosystem.
                                                                                                                      Google.”
  Considering the importance of time to market in
                                                                                                                      Slobodan Ivkovic,
  such a competitive environment, it is interesting to                                                                Lead Mobile Application Developer,
  note that only 20 percent of respondents are willing                                                                Esteh Doo
  to pay for fast track certification and support.

  Open source adoption and challenges
  In the 2010 shape of developer economics, the notion of open source is closely tied to
  mobile platforms, with Android, Symbian, MeeGo, Java ME, and WebKit using
  various forms of open source licensing.

  Within the space of just two years, open source has created the biggest disruption the
  mobile industry has ever seen, second only to the Apple’s iconic product series and
  the app store paradigm. The announcement of Google’s Android in late 2007
  triggered the sale of Symbian to Nokia and the relicensing of the platform, killed off
  UIQ and MOAP platforms, marginalised Microsoft’s Windows Phone and set new
  norms for pricing mobile operating system royalties down to zero.

  Similarly, the WebKit browser engine, debuted in 2005 by Apple, has resulted in the
  exit of Teleca’s Obigo and the sale of Openwave’s browser business in 2007, which
  were until then the two biggest-selling browsers for mobile handsets. Today WebKit
  is the de facto browser engine for mid/high-end mobile handsets, shipped in more
  than 250 million handsets as of the end of 2009 (see www.100millionclub.com).

  Besides disrupting the operating system and browser business in the mobile industry,
  open source has acted as a “mindshare magnet” for tens of thousands of developers.
  Open source has been employed toward this aim sometimes successfully (by Google’s
  Android) and sometimes unsuccessfully (by Sun’s Java Phone ME project).

  The use of open source among mobile developers
  Notwithstanding its mass adoption, open source remains one of the most
  misunderstood topics in the mobile industry, both in terms of licensing and
  governance. Our research probed into two aspects of open source: its use and its
  challenges, both from the mobile developer perspective.

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                            © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                                       36
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




On average, 86 percent of respondents who use open source at work use it within
development tools such as Eclipse.The exceptions are iPhone and Windows Phone
developers, who are less heavy users of open source development tools. Another
popular use of open source is within shipping products (almost 40 percent of
respondents). It’s worth pointing out that BlackBerry developers are by far the least
active users of open source within shipping products, which indicates a commercial
skepticism – one RIM will have to overcome as it gradually adopts open source
software within its devices starting with WebKit.

Overall, developer involvement in open source correlates highly with background.
Android and iPhone developers are three times more likely to lead open source
communities compared to Symbian developers. This reveals the contrasting pedigree
of the two developer communities; iPhone and Android developers originate from the
Internet domain where open source has existed for more than 10 years, while
Symbian developers come from the mobile domain, where open source is relatively
new.

Challenges and opportunities with open source
We asked mobile developers what were the key drawbacks to open source and the
results are convergent. The consensus among developers pointed to open source
licensing: 60 percent of respondents thought that the main issue with open source
was the confusion created by licenses.

One developer said characteristically: "Corporations are wary of the licensing terms
and err on the side of caution – by avoiding open source altogether." More than 10
percent of respondents went as far as to say that open source was a viral threat to
software companies. This presents an opportunity for organisations vying for
developer mindshare to provide developers with much-needed education on open
source licenses, and thereby boost their awareness and exposure among developer
communities – especially as open source remains a hot topic in mobile development
in 2010 and beyond.

Another reason cited as a drawback to open source by 25 percent of respondents is
that one can't make money with open source. One developer said characteristically
that "it's hard to convince people to pay for software," while another said, "If your
app uses too much open source it's easy to duplicate". Again, these present concerns
that will benefit from education on the commercial use of open source and how the
use of open source is in fact orthogonal to the business model, as demonstrated by
10s of case studies in the mobile industry.

Another often-cited downside is that open
source projects lack documentation and                                 “Corporations are wary
support, causing delays to the development                             of the licensing terms
and release cycles. Other developers maintained
that liabilities arising from the use of open                          and err on the side of
source software can cause unexpected costs.                            caution - by avoiding
Other notable comments were that open source                           open source
projects lacked commercial promotion
behind them. Again, these are challenges for
                                                                       altogether.”
which best practices exist already within OEMs                         Android Developer
and software vendors whose management has
defined open source policies and processes.




                © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   37
         Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




Part 4
The Role of Networks in Taking Apps to Market




                         © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   38
 Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




 Part 4. The role of networks in taking apps to market

 Mobile developers have in recent years become a new target ‘supplier’ for network
 operators (“carriers,” if you live in North America). Developers are seen as the key to
 driving innovation within and on top of the network and helping operators profit as
 distributors of the most popular apps.

 Networks have exposed capabilities (e.g. location) for third party services since the
 beginning of the century, but have only done so for their major (read: multi-million-
 dollar) content partners.

 Since 2004, networks have begun exposing their network capabilities as an offering
 towards the 100s of mobile content developers (e.g. Orange Partner). Since 2009,
 networks have opened up enabler APIs to the 1000s of businesses (e.g. Telenor's
 Mobilt Bedriftsnett) and the hundreds of thousands of mobile application developers
 – as with O2 Litmus, Vodafone’s Betavine, Orange Partner and Telenor Fusion,
 followed closely behind by North American operators AT&T, Sprint and Verizon.

 Hallmarking the importance of the developer to the mobile industry, the headline
 mobile events of 2010 – Mobile World Congress and CTIA – both featured dedicated
 developer pavilions that attracted heavy marketing investments from network
 operators in Europe and North America.

 Our research found that while mobile networks are vying for developer mindshare,
 the opposite is not true; in their majority, developers seem apathetic towards
 networks.


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                      © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                          39
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




Our analysis shows that a majority of mobile developers
view network operators as bit-pipes. Nearly 80 percent                           “What's most
of developer respondents think that the role of network                          important is not
operators should be to deliver data access                                       understanding
anywhere/anytime, while only 53 percent of respondents
considered the role of networks as delivering voice calls.                       demographics, but
This suggests that developers believe operators have a                           reaching to these
bigger role to play than just delivering voice calls.                            demographics.”
Responses were opinionated and strong, given that the                            Flash Lite Developer
vast majority (95 percent) of respondents voiced their
opinion. Moreover, developer sentiment doesn't vary
significantly by the level of experience, by platform or by
region, so we can assume it is representative of the
overall mobile developer community.                                              “[There is a] big gap
                                                                                 between intention and
It’s noteworthy that only 20 percent of respondents see                          outcome. All
networks as a potential route to market. While network
operators are best placed to connect developers to                               [operators] talk about
consumers, they are not perceived as a marketing                                 supporting developers.
channel to consumers.                                                            But in practice actual
What's even more surprising is that only five percent of
                                                                                 support (usable SDKs,
respondents thought that the role of network operators                           decent documentation,
should be to expose network APIs, hinting at the lack of                         support, person to talk
interest towards network enablers. Some developers                               to) is lacking.”
were more opinionated: "Operators should get out of the
way of developers" was one characteristic comment,                               Malcolm Box,
which is disheartening for operators spending resources                          Developer
and money in developer programs.

We believe that the relative developer apathy towards operators is down to three
reasons:

A. Lack of operator-driven marketing programs for the long tail of
developers, and the slow pace with which network APIs have advanced since the
turn of the century. The handful of network API programs available globally are
generally in their nascent stages, with many APIs being in beta while the
commercially available ones are usually prohibitively priced for small developer
shops (Orange Partner and Telenor’s CPA programs are good examples).

B. Mismatch between operator ambitions and the market reality.
Operators and related initiatives (e.g. JIL) have been keen to develop their own, full-
blown app stores – from app ingestion to discovery – when operators haven’t yet
fixed their key issues, namely 70/30 revenue share when apps are purchased through
the operator payment gateway. The golden rule here is that operators can only extract
value where they add value – and they have little value to add in app ingestion or
application discovery, for example. Moreover, many network API programs focus on
enablers like messaging or location, for which better or cheaper alternatives exist. T-
Mobile USA’s closure of their developer program is perhaps a sign of maturity in this
direction.

C. The gap in developers’ perception of network value. Much like in the 90s
when the first Internet providers had to educate the public on the utility of the
Internet, so operators have to convince developers as to the value of the network. As
we argue at the end of this section, operators have value to add in two market gaps:


                © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   40
 Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




 micro-billing (at credit-card-like rates) and in helping developers target the right
 segments through their understanding of consumer behaviour on their networks.

 Who should pay for mobile data anywhere/anytime?
 All in all, mobile developers see the role of networks as delivering data access
 anywhere/anytime. But, given the billion-dollar infrastructure investments operators
 are making (3G, HSPA, LTE) and the incremental (per-MB) cost of offering data
 access, the obvious question is: who should pay for mobile data?

 Our research found the consensus of developer opinion pointing to a tiered revenue
 model, where users should pay extra for premium bandwidth. This practice of
 bandwidth tiering has long been debated within standards groups, but it has been
 applied only in very limited contexts (e.g., dual flat-rate pricing structures with
 DoCoMo in Japan). At the same time, pricing plans always need to strike a fine
 balance between demand and supply; increasing data prices (with tiering or without)
 might reduce usage and therefore revenues for both operators and app developers.

 More novel business models for data access were mostly unpopular in our survey;
 proposed models included taxing traffic-generating applications, adding a state tax
 on applications, ad-supported data access, charging app store providers and
 subsidising bandwidth from the sale of device or application analytics.

 What network APIs would developers pay for?
 Many tier-1 operators today in Europe and North America are offering network APIs,
 i.e. a set of programmatic interfaces allowing developers to leverage network
 capabilities from their applications. Examples are APIs to allow developers to detect
 device capabilities, location, send SMS or emails and tap into user profiling
 information.

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                      © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                            41
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




Our research shows that developer opinion isn’t strongly converging to any single
API; billing APIs was the only one that attracted
interest from more than half of respondents. Also,          "There needs to be
around one in three developers said they would pay
for SMS/MMS/email APIs and location/presence
                                                            generational shift in
APIs. The only other single API which garnered a            management at
positive response from more than 30 percent was             operators.”
the user demographics API, allowing developers to
tap into user profiles like age bracket and spend           Antony Hartley,
bracket (privacy concerns aside).                           CTO, MoSync AB


Are standards needed for network APIs?
As network API programs are maturing, standards groups are emerging – such as
GSMA’s One API initiative and the Wholesale Applications Community – to
homogenise the technical and commercial access to operator network capabilities.

Our research showed that more than 60 percent of respondents think that unified
API specs are needed, followed by around 45 percent of respondents who felt a single
entry point for API calls was called for. There was no noteworthy variance for this
question across platforms or developer experience levels.

Our findings confirm the current state of the network enablers market. With network
API programs still in their infancy, developers are asking for unified APIs and single
entry points. As network API programs mature over the next three years, the need for
unified pricing and a single commercial framework should dominate discussions
within the developer community.

Despite the availability of many network API programs, developers in the post-app
store era are all painfully aware of the commercial reality – and the importance of
monetisation over and above standards. One developer said characteristically,
"Unified 'whatever' is conceptually nice, but as a developer, I really don't care
whether I write essentially the same stuff with different API calls twice, as long as I
get paid for that."

Are networks supportive towards developers?
We also polled mobile developers for their opinion on the level of support they
receive from network operators. Overall, results were quite disappointing for
networks. Only 10 percent of respondents thought that operators were adequately
supportive towards developers, while almost 70 percent thought that there was little
or no developer support from network operators.

The majority of developers had not interacted directly with operators, but were very
opinionated towards the level of support they are getting (or not getting) from
operators.

Developer comments on this matter were polarised.                           “Pay [for network
Anecdotal reports of developers working with
operators in UK, Israel or Estonia reflected a
                                                                            APIs]? Do they want
positive sentiment. For example, one respondent                             our apps on their
commented, “Networks like O2 seem to go out of                              network?”
their way with Litmus”.
                                                                            Robert “Ozzie” Osband,
Others were disillusioned with operator support:                            PHonePHriendly.Com,
                                                                            mobile web developer
"Developer support [programs] (e.g. O2 Litmus) do


                © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   42
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




not convert into the creation of commercial opportunities." Or, "In Kenya, Safaricom,
the leading mobile operator, has completely refused to grant developers access to the
M-Pesa [payment] API." Other responses were equally opinionated: "It's a dialogue
[with Vodafone] vs. dictatorship with Orange." or "[Operators] talk a lot, but nothing
really happens. This is true for all networks in Spain!"


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The overall sentiment has been one of developer
disillusionment with operators.                                                           “If Google became
Operators are often seen as engaging in one-way                                           an operator our
communication, providing only requirements but                                            problems would be
giving little back - in some cases not even offering
documentation for their own APIs. "They receive a                                         solved."
huge share from the downloads of each product but
give close to zero back to the developers!" Other                                         Peter-Paul Koch,
developers see opportunism; "[Operators] are                                              www.quirksmode.org
supportive if they can share revenue".

"They often get in the way of developers and stifle innovation in an effort to protect
their products and to limit use of their networks to keep costs for new equipment
down. They also fragment the device implementations for APIs in an effort to keep
developers locked in to support only them, and as a way to differentiate themselves in
the market."

Developers also see operators as unreliable. "They seem to change their alignment
every other quarter," or, "The marketing initiatives come and go.. not consistent.
Have seen this within both big and small developer companies. Example: O2
innovators will be gone in a couple of years… They do not care about developers."

Quite a few developers thought that the level of operator support was unfairly biased
towards the major developer houses – indicating how operator developer programs
have not adequately evolved to cater to the long tail.




                   © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                       43
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




"The first mobile company to TRULY reach out to web developers will have an edge
over the competition, but right now I don't see any candidates. Except for Google,
obviously. (And Apple, but they're playing their own game.) If Google became an
operator our problems would be solved."

Opportunities for networks
Despite the overall skepticism, we believe network operators have a crucial role to
play in the mobile applications market, particularly in three areas:

1. By providing access, transparency and support. There are plenty of ways
developers have suggested that operators can help through marketing programs (e.g.
helping developers map out the demand for new applications), communication (e.g.
frank, open feedback), transparency (sharing service roadmaps) or incubator-like
facilities. The latter can provide a variety of essential infrastructure to app developers
like subsidised market research, handset loaner programs, testing apps within a
sandbox network, or free SIM Cards. Our survey also found that more than 40
percent of respondents are willing pay operators for business development. Again,
this is an opportunity for operators to connect with developers and help the most
promising applications bubble up to the top.

2. By providing payment gateways that are cost-effective for application
developers, i.e. offer a fair revenue pay-out towards developers, at least matching the
standard (70/30) set by app stores. We believe that if networks further extend their
revenue share to credit-card-like revenue payouts (95/5), they would see network
billing being adopted for entire new market segments – including retail and Internet
payments – that have so far presented dormant (but major) opportunities. Operators
should also shorten their payment cycles closer to the levels delivered by app stores
to help developers manage cash flow.

3. By helping developers target the right customer segments for their
applications. Network operators can leverage their customer profile goldmine to
allow developers to expose their applications to the right consumer segments. For
example operators could help developers target 100s of different segments for their
applications (e.g. female executives, texting teenagers or travelling salesmen), based
on profiling information (age bracket, spend bracket and roaming profile) that are
non-personally identifiable.

This is a match made in heaven; networks have
detailed usage information (much more so than                                 “If [operators] did
banks) that could be used to be build up 100s of
consumer segments, without exposing sensitive
                                                                              really care about app
customer information. At the same time, developers                            developers, they would
see exposure and marketing as the number one                                  go to the same events
challenge for mobile applications today.                                      that app developers go
Clearly network operators have a long, promising way                          to, rather than trying
to go. But at the same time they also have a finite                           to do their own
window of opportunity, as Internet players are                                events".
gradually breaking down the incumbent control
points, whether it’s spectrum scarcity, network-                              Flash Lite Developer
controlled termination fees or operator-customised
devices.




                © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   44
   Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




Appendices




                   © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   45
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




Appendix 1. Research Methodology

Developer Economics 2010 is a global research report delving into all aspects of
mobile application development, across 400+ developers segmented into eight major
platforms: iPhone (iOS), Android, Symbian, BlackBerry, Java ME, Windows Phone,
Flash and mobile web.

The report provides insights into all the touchpoints of mobile app development,
from platform selection, application planning, code development and debugging, to
support, go-to-market channels, promotion, revenue generation, as well as hot topics
such as the role of open source and network operators.

The objectives behind this research were to analyse the mobile developer experience
from two very different angles:

    1. Survey the perceptions of mobile developers across the eight major platforms:
    Android, iOS/iPhone, BlackBerry, Symbian, Windows Phone, Flash/Flash Lite,
    Java ME and mobile web (WAP/XHTML/CSS/Javascript).

    2. Benchmark the app development experience across four platforms
    (iPhone/iOS, Symbian, Android, Java ME) through hands-on development of
    nine mini applications.

The survey received 401 responses from mobile developers across the globe, across
35 Q&As, and across the entire development lifecycle, making this the biggest mobile
developer survey to date.

Out of the 401 respondents, 172 were interviewed by phone and 229 completed the
questionnaire online. Respondents were asked to base their answers on one out of the
eight mobile platforms noted above. Up to two responses were allowed per developer,
each on a different platform.

Participants
The list of respondents mainly comprised developers working for software
companies. Around 20 percent of our respondents were either students or freelance
developers, while more than 45 percent worked for companies with 10 to 100
employees. The remaining 35 percent of the mobile developers who participated in
this research worked for large companies, with over 100 employees.

In total, our respondents included developers from over 300 different companies.
The list included developers working in large telecom companies, including software
companies Aplix, Opera Software, and Teleca; handset manufacturers Nokia,
Samsung, and ZTE; mobile operators Vodafone, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, and T-
Mobile; and, infrastructure vendors Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent.

The distribution of participants was positively biased towards experienced
developers. More than 40 percent of our respondents had at least five years
experience in developing mobile apps, while 87 percent had been developing apps for
more than a year. Only 13 percent of the sample was comprised of novices at mobile
application development, having less than a year’s experience in the field.

Moreover, many of the respondents had received one or more developer awards.
Almost 20 participants were Nokia Forum Champions, while three were Grand Prize


                © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   46
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




winners of Nokia’s Calling all Innovators contest. Our participants also included
three Adobe Community Experts, three finalists of the Android Developer Challenge
and two Handango Champions, while others had won the Mobile Premier and Navteq
Global LBS Awards. Other participants were winners of the Flash Lite Game Contest,
the Betavine and Vodafone Summer of Widgets Contest. The list also included a Flash
Lite Developer Challenge finalist and the winner of the Indonesia BlackBerry
Developer Challenge.

Questionnaire
The questionnaire used in Developer Economics 2010 consisted of five parts, each
with a different focus.

•   Background: Region, years of mobile development experience and range of
    experience across platforms.

•   Platform selection and features: Reasons for selecting platform, best and
    worst aspects of chosen platform.

•   Code development, tools & support: Learning curve, IDE and
    debugger/emulator pain points, getting support on the platform and types of
    technical and marketing support developers are be willing to pay for, and the
    relevance of standards groups.

•   Taking applications to market: App certification, use of app stores, main
    channel for selling apps, channel revenue and challenges, time-to-shelf and time-
    to-payment, planning, promotion and revenue models for apps.

•   Hot topics: Open Source & Network APIs: Open source use and drawbacks,
    role and support of network operators, API requirements and standardization
    activity.
Data points were captured through mostly multiple-choice questions, with a
maximum of three answers per question. Most questions included an open-ended
option, allowing us to capture context-specific comments and qualitative aspects of
developer sentiment.

All participants were entered into a prize draw for 25 prizes, including handsets,
Amazon vouchers and conference passes.

Regional, platform and experience distribution
Our sample of 401 respondents was drawn from a variety of regional and experience
backgrounds.

Note that our distribution of respondents is not necessarily representative of the total
global distribution of mobile developers across regions or platforms. In interpreting
the results of the survey we have often normalised across platforms (i.e. as if we had
100 developers from each platform), as well as checking for response variances based
on the level of experience or across regions. The reader may have to apply the
insights to their ‘reference’ developer distribution as applicable in their region or
market.




                © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   47
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




                                             N-+O#&,0$%&8'9$(/#$7*F+3'


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Respondents were asked to provide the country they were currently based in, as
opposed to their country of origin. Although this research was worldwide, the sample
of respondents had a bias towards Europe, as shown in the chart above. Africa, South
America and Oceania yielded a small number of respondents.

Platform distribution
Developers were asked to base their answers on the platform that they spent most of
their time on. The choice was between the eight major moble platforms, as noted
earlier. The platform chosen by the largest number of respondents was Android,
followed by Symbian and iOS (iPhone). Regrettably, BlackBerry and Flash Lite were
both underrepresented, having been chosen by a fraction of our respondents. The
next graph shows the distribution of platforms selected by our 400+ respondents.


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                       © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                  48
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




In terms of geographical distribution, native platform developers (Symbian, iOS,
Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone) who participated in our survey mostly
originated from North America, while cross-platform developers (Java ME and
Flash/ Flash Lite) made up nearly half of the Asia-based respondents. Developers
based in Europe had a more balanced distribution between native, web and cross-
platform developers.


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                    © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                                      49
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




Appendix 2. Comparative platform benchmarks

Today’s mobile platforms are extremely diverse in their characteristics in a host of
different ways, all of which impact the developer experience. Take for example the
diversity of coding experience across development languages (C++, Objective-C or
Java), environments and tool-chains (xCode, Eclipse, Carbide), emulator
performance, on-target debugging performance, programming APIs and idioms (iOS
frameworks, Symbian macros, Android Intents or Java ME profiles), available class
libraries, supporting SDKs, information available in forums vs communities, and
many more.

To research the finer aspects of the mobile development experience, we benchmarked
the four key mobile platforms – iOS (iPhone), Android, Symbian and Java ME –
against the most common developer tasks: coding, emulator debugging, device
debugging, and support resources (SDK, official and community forums).

We structured our research by asking eight developers to prototype nine mobile
applications – from ‘hello world’ to networking, multimedia, sensor and addressbook
applications. We then asked each developer to keep track of the time taken in key
tasks, including coding, debugging and reading SDKs, as well as key output metrics
like lines of code written. To balance out the level of development experience, our
panel for each platform consisted of one novice developer (who had not programmed
on that platform before) and one expert developer (who had at least one year
experience on the platform).

The developers were given application specs in the form of a screen mockup and a
description of the application controls and behaviour, as shown in the next example.




We broke down the research results into five key metrics that provide generalisable
insights into the key platforms. We next walk through each metric and the insights
generated.

Which platform is the quickest and slowest to get started on?
We measured the time it takes for a novice developer to install the SDK and develop a
simple Hello World application.




                © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities   50
 Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




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 Surprisingly, iPhone is the hardest platform to get started on, taking two to three
 times longer to set up for a novice developer than other platforms. The iPhone
 developer spent three hours in total to set up the environment and develop the Hello
 World app, almost half of which was spent in looking up documentation.

 Which platform takes the least and most coding effort for common
 applications?
 Symbian is well known for its quirky development idioms and the tedious C++
 development effort needed to accomplish even simple tasks. This was confirmed
 quantitatively by our research; for developing nine typical applications, a Symbian
 developer needs to write almost three times more code than an Android developer.
 iPhone is also based on a C-like programming paradigm, but its drag & drop design
 environment allows for far more effective coding, resulting in half as much code
 writing, compared to Symbian. Java ME is lagging slightly behind Android in terms
 of the overall coding effort.



                           © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                 51
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




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Which platform is the fastest and slowest for debugging?
To understand how the debugging effort varies across platforms, we compared the
time spent in debugging by all expert developers who were already experienced with
the platform. We also compared time taken for on-emulator vs. on-device debugging.

Results show that debugging on Android is faster than on any other platform – and in
fact twice as fast as debugging on Symbian. Besides showing its age as a decade-old
platform, Symbian presents many challenges with on-target debugging, since the
emulator behaviour often differs compared to when the application is tested on the
actual device.


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Second runners to Android are iPhone and Java ME in terms of debugging effort.
Despite Java’s simple language, structure and garbage collection, on-target behaviour


                     © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                            52
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




is again dependent on the device and JVM vendor, which increases the application
debugging time.

4. How do platforms differ in terms of the documentation & support?
Each platform vendor has a different strategy for in-sourcing documentation as
opposed to letting the community support the platform. These variations show up in
our research as we looked at how much time developers spent in official forums and
community forums.

The level of developer enthusiasm and the huge community that has formed around
the iPhone has made community forums the main source for developer support. Our
benchmarks show that iPhone offers the strongest community-driven support,
followed by Android. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Symbian, where Nokia
has done an exemplary job of supporting developers, including a Forum Nokia Wiki
and a best-in-class devices database containing hardware specs and platform details.


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How are platforms suited to developing common applications?
To compare and contrast platforms across a wide range of application use cases, we
asked our eight developers (one novice and one expert per platform) to complete a
series of self-contained applications: hello world, multimedia player, form controls
and persistence, graphics & background task, camera snapshot, location sensing,
accelerometer, network access and markup and an address book application. The
results show large variance across the applications.

The iPhone expert was the fastest in completing the accelerometer and the address
book application. The Android expert completed the location sensing and todo list
(form controls and persistence) applications ahead of his peers, while the Symbian
expert completed the multimedia player task faster than the others. Finally, the Java
expert was faster than his peers in a number of tasks, being the first to complete the
hello world and setup task, the graphics & background task, the camera snapshot and
the network access & markup tasks.

The Java novice did not complete any of the tasks ahead of his peers, while the
iPhone novice completed just one task, namely address book & telephony ahead of


                    © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                          53
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




the other novices. The Symbian novice took less time than the other novices in
completing hello world and setup, the multimedia player and the network access and
markup tasks. Finally, the Android novice completed the largest number of tasks
faster than his peers, being the first to develop the form controls and persistance, the
graphics and background, the camera snapshot, the location sensing and the
accelerometer tasks.


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We conclude that for developing typical use cases, Android is consistently the fastest
platform to develop on, with few exceptions (the multimedia player and network
access use cases) across both novice and expert developers. Surprisingly, iPhone
overall takes most time for application developers, even more so than Symbian. This
is probably due to our selection of application tasks; we tested for common use cases
and not complex tasks where code size increases with complexity, and debugging
becomes a significant percentage of the development cycle (contrary to the average 10
percent of the development cycle in our tests).

It’s also worth pointing out that Java ME had the most pronounced differences
between the novice and the expert, with the novice taking three times longer, or 43
more hours, to complete the whole set. The average difference between novice and
expert on the other three platforms was 16 hours.

Using the above data, we can say that when developing common applications, each
hour of work for a given Android developer, irrespective of level of experience, equals
1 hour and 10 minutes for a Symbian developer, 1 hour and 20 minutes for a Java ME
developer and approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes for an iPhone developer.




                    © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                             54
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




Appendix 3. Developer contests and standards groups

Developer competitions and contests
2010 has been the year of the developer, witnessing a mass introduction of developer
events, contests and competitions – not only from platform vendors and handset
manufacturers, but also hardware manufacturers (e.g., Qualcomm), network
equipment providers (e.g., Alcatel Lucent, Ericsson) and network operators (e.g.,
Telefonica, Vodafone, Verizon).

So what does it take to get developers to participate? Why do developers attend
competitions and contests and what makes them successful?

Our survey found that cash prizes and getting their name out there are the main
motivation for developers’ participation in competitions and contests – much in line
with Maslow’s theory on the hierarchy of needs.

Yet views differ significantly by platform. Symbian, Android and mobile web
developers take the high road and prefer fame over money. Windows Phone, Flash,
BlackBerry, iPhone and especially Java developers prefer a nice cash prize.


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   D%            ED%            FD%            GD%            HD%            ID%            JD%             KD%            LD%
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 V2-*%FDEDS%W(@*-#*>%2->*'%!'*";:*%!1//1-#%XY'(72;1-%GSD%W(@*-#*S%X-0%2#*%1'%'*/(Z%1?%3$(#%A1'=%/2#3%'*3"(-%3$(#%-1;@*S%



Potential for business development is the next biggest motivator, with more than 35
percent of developers very keen to leverage events to build stronger relationships
with handset manufacturers and network operators. There is an opportunity here for
mobile operators to not only create competitions to generate innovative services for
their customer base, but also attract the attention of some of the best developers in
the market, for a potentially small investment.




                    © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                     55
Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond




Standards groups: are they important to developers?
Despite their multitude, mobile industry standards, consortia and joint initiatives
seem to have captured very little developer mindshare.

To some mobile industry insiders, this will come as no surprise; standards bodies like
the OMA and GSMA have not invested in developer outreach until recently.
Furthermore, their recommendations affect network technology, which is far
removed from the mobile developer experience. Surprisingly though, OMTP (with
their BONDI initiative) has generated significant attention within the mobile
industry, a sentiment which seems to not be shared by the average mobile developer
working outside the hype-circle of the industry.

Overall, the only standards consortium that is of significance to mobile developers is
the W3C, which is seen as important for mobile development by 60 percent of all
respondents (and over 90 percent of mobile web
developers). Ironically, W3C maintains the only
non-mobile-focused group of standards
                                                           “Most [standards groups] do
applicable to the mobile industry. This finding            not do anything other than
points to how standardisation efforts within the           get in the way of progress.”
mobile industry have traditionally sidelined the
role of third party developers, and are now                Shawn Fitzgerald,
waking up to this reality of developer                     Java ME Developer
indifference.

Second runners were the OMA, OMTP and
GSMA which are seen as important to only 20-30 percent of developers. Java
developers were the only group of respondents who favoured a different standards
group, namely the Java Community Process (JCP).


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Some developers are even disillusioned with standards groups; one said, “Most
[standards groups] do not do anything other than get in the way of progress,” while
another stated, “[Standards] are coffee+cookie parties”. Clearly standards initiatives
in the mobile industry have a long way to go before convincing developers of their
value.


                      © VisionMobile 2010. Some rights reserved. Sponsored by Telefonica Developer Communities                   56
knowledge. passion. innovation.

				
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