In our last few articles relating to our 2012 Mobile Developer Report– the largest such survey conducted to date – we discussed that while Apple iOS has built a lead over Android in terms of enterprise leadership, Android's decline in terms of developer interest has recently been arrested. However the big two, iOS and Android, are not the only OSes holding their interest. Microsoft is poised to become a player in the mobile app space as well.
A third of developers say they are "very interested" in developing for Windows 8 – a high number for a system that isn't yet commercially available. Many find the OS's Metro UI a compelling experience. In comparison to iOS and Android, 43.8% of developers give Metro positive marks for being pleasing to the eye and different. This gives Microsoft a real opportunity to encourage developers to provide new and differentiated app experiences based on Metro, and capitalize on this opportunity among developers.
The continued erosion in developer dedication to Research in Motion's, Blackberry OS , also presents opportunities for Microsoft. However the window of opportunity is short; developer interest in Windows Phone 7 devices has already dropped sharply because of disappointing WP7 handset sales. One important way Microsoft can take advantage of this opening in the market would be to ease the path for developers to port their Android smartphone and iphone/iPad apps to Microsoft Windows based devices.
We can't predict for certain how successful Microsoft will be in its push to gain market share for Windows 8 devices. One thing seems clear, though - with iOS and Android both likely to retain significant market share, and Windows 8 poised to make inroads, the wisdom of choosing one OS exclusively seems doubtful. Companies should be marshaling resources to develop native apps on multiple platforms.
Download the Appcelerator Q2 2012 Mobile Developer Survey for more details about developer opinions and the future of mobile.