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Android vs. iOS: Which is the best mobile platform for a first design?

In the struggle to decide which platform -- iOS or Android -- is the best mobile platform for a first design, there are a lot of factors to consider.

The world of mobile does change -- not as fast as the press would have everyone believe, but it does move through...

rapid cycles. So, when it comes to choosing the best mobile platform on which to build a mobile app, it is best to work with what is known.

Today, on a global scale, Android dominates. According to Google, there are 1.4 billion active Android accounts that download apps. If you trust this number, the answer is easy: Build for Android.

But the answer is never that easy. Although Apple may not have the same volume of devices as Google, the people who have iOS devices spend more money per device. For instance, Apple dominates with 70% of revenue from mobile devices. So, the answer is simple: Build for iOS.

But that's still not the right answer. Emerging markets, such as China and India, are heavily slanted to Android. India, in particular, has 90% of all phones powered by Android.

The result is that applications must support both Apple's iOS and Google's Android. The leading question is: On which platform do you publish an app first? To answer this question, look to your market to determine which is the best mobile platform for you. If your market is the U.S., my recommendation is to build an iOS app and see how that does. Take what you learn and apply it to Android. If your market is South Africa, publish to Android first.

The final thoughts to keep in mind are that the Android and iOS experiences, while both mobile, are not the same. Do not take an iOS app and port it exactly to Android. Many Android customers complain that an app "looks like an iPhone app," and will stop using the app for that reason. Optimize the experience for both platforms. The goal is to measure success on both mobile operating systems.

Next Steps

Try practical iPhone testing strategies

Develop for Android using Eclipse

Skills for an app developer

This was last published in November 2015

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Which platform do you consider to be the best mobile development platform?
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It really depends, as the article points on, on many different factors. Personally, I prefer the Android platform because I think the tools are more readily available and there is much more community support.
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Hi guys, with Red Hat Mobile Application Platform you can do both and even add Microsoft Mobile if you like.
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You certainly need to keep your audience in mind. We were able to leverage information regarding the types and numbers of devices that our customers were using to access out websites and content, and make a decision based on that. In the end, we opted for Apple because our primary demographic was predominately using Apple devices, with Android running a distant second.
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