Why Android First Is a Myth

Why startups tend to build their apps for iOS first:

In the US, iOS market share is still extremely strong (even pre-iPhone 5s launch data showed Android having peaked, so Q4 data will be interesting with Apple’s refresh). Since the vast majority of innovative mobile startups come out of the US, Apple’s stronghold domestically has an absolutely massive impact on developer mindshare—e.g. even if China gains another 400M subscribers this year, this fundamental fact won’t change.

This is a point that gets lost so often when Android’s market share numbers are touted as evidence that iOS is on the wane. The U.S. market is completely different, and here the iPhone continues to grow market share.

All of my conversations over the past year with Android developers, 3rd party dev shops, more mature startups developing on both platforms and investors confirm a simple hard reality: building and releasing on Android costs 2-3x more than iOS. This is due to a multitude of reasons: less sophisticated tools, generally more cumbersome APIs, fewer exposed advanced features, enormous QA issues brought on by fragmentation, etc. The rough rule of thumb is for every iOS engineer you actually need two Android engineers—or twice the development time.

I’ve seen this personally over and over. Developing for Android is harder, and as a result costs more and takes more time. It’s just an objectively worse development environment.