iOS, Android, HTML5? How to pick a tablet platform for your app

VentureBeat |

You’re building a tablet app, and you need to make decisions on what platforms to support. Here’s how to pick the tablet platform that’s right for you … and will result in the most sales of your app.

The choices are well-known:

  • iOS
    The acknowledged market leader for scale and monetization
  • Android
    The strong contender for second place, but with fragmentation concerns
  • Kindle Fire
    Android under the skin, but walled off by Amazon, with its own app store
  • Windows 8
    The dark horse: an intriguing option, but scale and penetration are open questions
  • BlackBerry
    The dead horse?
  • HTML5
    The one ring to rule them all … but perhaps a little lost in a deep cave in the Misty Mountains

For some people, the choice might be obvious. But sometimes there can be market advantages to targeting a less-obvious platform. Let’s look at the alternatives.

Why you would pick iOS

Apple’s iOS is the acknowledged leader in tablet sales. According to Gartner, the iPad will destroy the competition with 61 percent of sales in 2012. So it’s pretty obvious why you’d develop for iPad: that’s where the users are. Not only are the most people on iPad right now, but the types of people are attractive to app developers. Simply put: they have money and they’re not afraid to spend it. That’s an attractive user base.

Also, there’s very good infrastructure in the iOS ecosystem: coding tools, developer ecosystem, publishing and distribution paths, and monetization options.

On the downside, there is a lot of noise in the iOS world. With more than 500,000 apps for iPhone and 200,000 for iPad, your app faces some major challenges getting noticed. That said, if you are a major brand or have deep pockets, you can likely break free from the pack.

Why you would pick Android

If iPad is the leader, Android is the very strong contender … and there’s recent history to suggest that Android may not always trail iOS in the tablet market. After all, Android leads in the smartphone market, after initially trailing the iPhone. According to the same Gartner study cited above, Android will make up about 32 percent of tablet sales in 2012, growing to 37 percent in 2016.

So Android has a very significant number of users. A third of a large market is still a pretty large potential audience, and Android is expected to account for about 35 million tablets this year. (For a caveat about these numbers, see Kindle Fire below.)

There are other reasons to choose Android for your tablet app. There’s less noise in the market — fewer dedicated tablet apps — which means that yours has a better chance to be seen. In addition, if your app is well-designed and user-friendly, it will stand out in stark contrast to other Android apps, which, unfortunately, largely suck.

But also, if you want more control of what you’re developing and how to market it, the fact that there are multiple Android markets and fewer ecosystem constraints mean that you have more freedom in how to build and market your app. Seguir leyendo “iOS, Android, HTML5? How to pick a tablet platform for your app”