Fully 33.3 percent of developers say they are very interested in developing for Windows 8 tablets, which IDC notes is an objectively strong number for a device class that has not yet been made commercially available. Microsoft's much touted Metro UI may play a role in that developer excitement, as 43.8 percent of developers say they find it beautiful and different compared with iOS and Android, and 28.5 percent say it is helping them rethink how to more effectively engage their users.
Microsoft's commitment to both ARM-based and x86-based devices may also help push it over the top if Microsoft can get it right, the report found. Providing a clear path and tools to help developers port their apps for ARM-based devices (like the iPad) to x86-based devices (like most PCs) could win over developers, 65 percent of whom are looking for the ability to provide consistent app user experiences across smartphones, tablets and PCs. A majority of developers (50.2 percent) also want the ability to efficiently reuse code when porting their apps.
Given Android's current weakness in the enterprise and the dramatic fall of the Research in Motion (RIM) BlackBerry-developer interest in developing for the BlackBerry 10 platform fell from 40 percent to 24 percent between the first quarter of 2012 and the second quarter-Appcelerator and IDC believe Microsoft has an opportunity to displace Android as the number two mobile operating system in the enterprise.
Android still shows key strengths
Meanwhile, the good news for Android is that it has managed to arrest its sinking popularity with developers, particularly developers of consumer apps, after four quarters of declining numbers. The report found 78.1 percent of developers say they are "very interested" in developing apps for Android phones, just slightly down from 78.6 percent of developers who said the same in the first quarter. And 68.8 percent said they were "very interested" in developing apps for Android tablets, up from 65.9 percent in the first quarter.
Appcelerator and IDC attribute Android's stabilization to the following factors:
- enormous growth in Android device shipments that is outweighing developer concerns about fragmentation
- lower Android price points compared with iOS are creating opportunities to reach a broader audience
- rapid Android handset growth in developing markets is demonstrating the importance of Android for global app strategies
- the recent success of Amazon's Android-based Kindle Fire has demonstrated market opportunities for lower-priced and smaller tablets
- the integration of Android Market into Google's now-broad Google Play set of offerings can provide network effects analogous to Apple's iTunes and App Store.
Thor Olavsrud covers IT Security, Big Data, Open Source, Microsoft Tools and Servers for CIO.com. Follow Thor on Twitter @ThorOlavsrud. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Thor at email@example.com