Reality for Windows developers: Users want Android, iOS apps

Microsoft's own platforms take a backseat when it comes to requests for mobile apps, developers find

Windows application developers moving into the mobile realm must grasp the reality that the platforms users want are not necessarily Windows.

A report released today entitled "Entering the Brave New World of Mobile Apps" emphasizes both the demand Windows developers are facing for mobile software as well as the reality that the two platforms most in demand by their users are Google Android and Apple iOS, not Windows platforms, which rank third and fourth in the survey. The report was authored by Dimensional Research and sponsored by software development tools vendor Embarcadero Technologies. Participants included 1,337 persons involved in Windows desktop application development, either as developers, engineers, or development managers.

The survey found that 85 percent of respondents had requests for mobile applications, which involve mobile capabilities for existing applications, new applications altogether, or replacing existing mobile systems. Android was the most requested platform, with 83 percent getting requests for it, followed by iOS (67 percent); Windows Phone (33 percent), Windows RT (13 percent), and RIM BlackBerry (14 percent).

Reality for Windows developers: Users want Android, iOS apps
Credit: Dimensional Research

Windows developers having to build for iOS and Android face challenges, said researcher Diane Hagglund, a principal with Dimensional Research: "They have to do it. They're figuring it out. These are really smart guys, but it's making challenges for them." Developers must build new skills, she said.

Meanwhile, 92 percent of respondents reported having concerns about building mobile applications, including a need for new development skills, the high costs of developing for multiple platforms, and inadequate tooling. Eighty-five percent said native apps are best, and 74 percent found HTML5 and JavaScript-based development challenging due to issues like accessing device features and inadequate language capabilities. Ninety-five percent see value in common source code for desktop and mobile applications. Embarcadero is positioning its RAD Studio XE 5 tooling platform, being announced Wednesday, as a solution in this vein, supporting multiple mobile platforms including Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac OS.

This story, "Reality for Windows developers: Users want Android, iOS apps," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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