Kindle Most Popular Android Tablet, Says IDC-Appcelerator Study

Appcelerator and IDC announced results from a new joint survey of 2,160 Appcelerator developers around the world. Findings reveal that Amazon’s new Kindle Fire edged Samsung Galaxy Tab as the number one most popular Android Tablet in North America, on par with interest for the iPad prior to its launch in April 2010, and second only to the Galaxy Tab globally with developers. Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7  decisively moved ahead of RIM’s BlackBerry OS to become the clear number three mobile OS behind iOS and Android.

The third major mobile OS after iOS and Android is now Windows, driven largely by the Microsoft/Nokia partnership and underscored by the new Nokia Lumia 800.

As the mobile industry advances, contenders are finding success by securing new footholds and partnerships to compete against Apple’s dominance. Amazon announced the Kindle Fire, a smaller, cheaper Android-based tablet that leverages its large content library, while Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 is building strong European developer enthusiasm thanks to its Nokia partnership.

Developers and businesses gave high marks to these moves, which contrast sharply against BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry’s QNX-based PlayBook, and webOS, all of which collapsed in interest with developers this past quarter.

Below are the topline findings from this quarter’s report:

  • When surveyed among 15 Android Tablets, the low-cost, content-rich eReader was second only to the Samsung Galaxy Tab globally in developer interest. A regional breakdown shows Amazon edging Samsung in North America for the top slot.
  • Appcelerator and IDC found in January 2011 that among developers, price was the single most important factor for Android Tablets to compete successfully against the iPad. Fast forward to November and developers cite price again as the leading reason for interest in the Kindle Fire. Rounding out the top five tablets, respondents eye Amazon’s rich content ecosystem, Appstore, target demographic, and eCommerce integration as the key reasons for interest in the new eReader.
  • When considering Kindle Fire’s potential drawbacks, fragmentation and lack of features like camera and geo-location were the two top concerns cited by developers. Assuming Amazon sells well this holiday season, Android developers will need to consider yet another set of different capabilities. The difference this time? Google will be less able to exert control over Amazon’s divergent Android path.
  • Windows Phone 7 separated from the pack to become the clear number 3 mobile OS this quarter. The OS climbed 8 points to 38 per cent of respondents saying they are “very interested” in the platform — the highest ever for Microsoft.
  • Microsoft is enjoying symbiotic success with Nokia. When asked why developers are more interested in Windows Phone 7 now than a year ago, a plurality (48 per cent) are saying it is the Microsoft/Nokia partnership. Nokia also received high marks for its new Lumia Windows Phone 7 smartphone announcement in October. Twenty-eight percent of developers said they are “very interested” in developing for the device. This is more than double the interest in Nokia’s own Symbian and MeeGo OSes since Appcelerator began reporting mobile platform interest in January 2010.
  • This quarter saw a sharp fall-off in developers reporting that they are “very interested” in RIM offerings with BlackBerry OS phones dropping 7 points to 21 per cent and PlayBook QNX-based tablets dropping 6 points to 13 per cent. Put another way, there is now more interest in Nokia’s new Lumia Windows Phone lineup than RIM’s smartphones.
  • HTML5 continues to keep developer interest. 66 per cent of developers are very interested in building HTML5 mobile Web sites, the same as last quarter.
  • Connected TV app development interest continues to slide. A year ago, 44 per cent of developers were very interested in developing for Google TV. Even with a second version announced last month, only 20 per cent expressed the same enthusiasm for Google TV this round. Apple TV, however, saw a smaller decline from 40 per cent a year ago to 27 per cent today.
  • iOS continues to reign at number one with 91 per cent of respondents saying they are “very interested” in developing for the iPhone, followed by the iPad at 88 per cent. Apple continued to hold onto its number 1 position in part due to iOS 5, which was cited as the most significant announcement this past quarter.
  • Android phones fell nearly 4 points to 83 per cent while tablets fell nearly 6 points to 68 per cent. While the drop was likely due in part to renewed interest in iOS 5, developers nevertheless saw Samsung’s rise to the number 1 smartphone manufacturer as the second most significant development of the past quarter after iOS 5.

A Deeper Look at Mobile Priorities Across the Mobile Relationship Lifecycle
The study asked developers and businesses to rank 24 mobile objectives for their most recent application. These were then clustered into an analysis IDC calls the mobile relationship lifecycle to define objectives in four areas: reach, engagement, loyalty, and monetization.

  • Reach: Businesses view deploying to multiple devices with native applications and mobile websites as the number one priority. Making the transition more efficient by leveraging a company’s resources also ranked high.
  • Engagement: Building applications that are easy to use with a native-user interface was the next most important objective, followed by application performance. Both are seen as key to driving engagement with users and echo the general sentiment that application utility is critical. These core concerns trumped even media, location and social features in priority.
  • Loyalty: Application notifications and using analytics to measure application feature usage ranked in the middle of the pack for most respondents.
  • Monetization: Advertising still trumps in-application purchasing as a preferred monetization model. When it comes to mobile commerce, the top priority is making payments easy.

The full report is available free for download at the Appcelerator website here (Registration needed).

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