updated 11:30 am EST, Wed December 7, 2011
Google chair sees flip on iOS-first development
Developers will finally start focusing on Android first instead of iOS in the next half a year, Google chairman Eric Schmidt said in his presentation at the Le Web conference Friday. When asked by an Android user frustrated that developers still preferred the iPad and iPhone, Schmidt expected Android 4.0 to reverse that trend. "My prediction is that six months from now you'll say the opposite," CNET quoted him as saying.
He also insisted that app developers were motivated by the sheer volume of users. This inherently favored Android's 'open' model, Schmidt claimed. With numerous hardware developers, Google was likely to pull ahead versus Apple's self-contained development.
Android 4.0 is expected to help developers just by letting them write for both phones and tablets with mostly similar expectations for each, much in the way iOS developers could support both iPhones and iPads since 2010. It further brings in a raft of new programming interfaces for developers to tap into the calendar, social information, and low-level media access that had previously been common only in iOS.
Schmidt's position still sidesteps issues that have kept developers either developing for iOS first or exclusively. Developers have complained of a bias towards free and pirated apps on Android, giving them no incentive to offer paid apps. Certain types of apps, such as games, are also much harder to implement on Android, since apps have to account for several resolutions, screen sizes, control schemes, and processor configurations to work properly.
Android 4.0 won't be reaching any other devices besides Google's in-house Nexus models until 2012, limiting the ability of developers to use the new features for several months or more.