We wanted to pick up a topic which we haven’t talked about at all until now, but is one that is of relevance to us when thinking about extending our service in the future: developing for multiple platforms / operating systems.
We know that a lot of you developers have come from developing for another (mobile) platform and there are many (gaming) companies out there who have completely moved their focus from developing for multiple platforms (mostly Symbian) to the iPhone / iPod Touch. So to us, it is a little weird even raising this question. The topic then is probably not whether to stop developing for one platform in favor of another but rather to develop for Android and/or Blackberry (or any other) additionally.
Of course, this decision can only have one basis: sales to be made from selling apps for the platform, thus sales potential, right? However, potential sales to be made or potential customers to reach are in most cases never the same as actual sales or people reached. In other words, the potential market to reach should not be mistaken with a 100% probability of actually reaching it. The competitive landscape is a big factor when considering for which platform to develop. Take for example the recent launch of Sidebar, which debuted for Android and not for the iPhone. Why? Well, probably not because of the absolute sales/download potential (as of now), but rather because of the higher probability of actually generating a satisfactory amount of sales.
In our mind, there is no doubt that 2010 will be the year of Android, with a lot of devices hitting the market and also a lot more apps coming out. Although, so far, no device has really been able to compete with the iPhone, the combination of the sheer amount of different smartphones running on Android and the increased quality of these devices, in our opinion, will make the difference. But of course, the more this progresses the harder the competitive environment and gaining visibility will get. So in the mid-term, choosing one platform over the other might be a zero sum game. We know for sure that this question will answer itself within the next few years. But for the here and now, this is an important decision to be made by any app developer. What do you think?