updated 12:35 pm EST, Sat March 10, 2012
Mika Mobile says Android money-losing platform
Battleheart's creator Mika Mobile in an update explained that it was dropping Android support. Google's platform was losing money for the company, since it spent about 20 percent of its time supporting the platform but only ever made five percent or less of the company's revenue. Much of the effort was spent on issues specific to Android, where the diversity was only creating problems rather than helping.
"I would have preferred spending that time on more content for you, but instead I was thanklessly modifying shaders and texture formats to work on different GPUs, or pushing out patches to support new devices without crashing, or walking someone through how to fix an installation that wouldn't go through," one half of the husband and wife duo said. "We spent thousands on various test hardware. These are the unsung necessities of offering our apps on Android."
As such, the company could "no longer legitimize" the effort spent. Even a long-sought answer from Google, which allowed up to 4GB of hosted content so that developers didn't have to offer their own separate downloads for large apps, wasn't deemed worth reworking the software.
The statements are most suited to game development rather than general apps, but do reflect a hesitance from major developers to support Android for gaming. While Apple's iOS has a narrow spread of hardware, this and an emphasis on high-end graphics has given developers a consistent and more easily optimized platform to support.
Apple may have also fostered a culture willing to pay for good content that doesn't yet exist for Google. Metrics from mobile tracking firms have shown Android making just a sixth of iOS' revenue as the bias is much more in favor of free apps in the Google Play Store. Rovio's Angry Birds line is only available as a free, ad-supported version on Android as it was assumed too many would either refuse to buy a full copy or would pirate the title instead.
Google hasn't responded to the claims, but it's not expected to have much choice. Many of the original decisions behind Android, such as emphasizing SD card storage and a variety of devices over pure quality, are decisions that it can't easily reverse. One step has already taken place in Android 4.0, where it's now an option to have one large contiguous piece of internal storage and thus makes monolithic app downloads possible.