At Stanfy, we communicate with different companies, from early-stage entrepreneurs to well-established businesses, and most of them don’t consider the Android platform for their app development at all, or view it as their second choice. Sometimes, these beliefs are connected to myths; sometimes they are true.
So, let’s review the most common concerns about Android and find out if your business needs an Android presence.
1) Android is exotic and unfamiliar
The majority of our clients are iOS users, and it is the platform they see most often in their closest environment. Thus, they don’t feel that anyone uses Android or that some of their customers might prefer it. Ash Rust, a co-founder of SendHub, said, “Up until recently, I rarely saw anything except iPhones in people’s hands.”
So, if you decide to develop an app for Android, you never know what is right and what’s not.
We offer the following friendly advice to every entrepreneur who plans to run a mobile business: be familiar with 2-3 mobile platforms; it will make you more confident about UI issues.
Also, here’s a chart to illustrate Android’s market share in the US:
Half of all smartphone holders use an Android device. Is it that few?
2) Android requires more development effort
This myth is connected to the Android fragmentation (more than 10,000 different devices are running on Android), but it doesn’t take more time to deal with it. First of all, we can focus on a limited number of devices and operating system versions. It may seem weird, but we, mobile app developers, found out how to adjust apps for the majority of screen sizes quickly and easily.
If you want to support all possible combinations, it’s not really complicated, but inadvisable (because earlier versions of Android are really out-of-date):
Chart by Opensignal
Actually, we advise supporting Android versions starting from 4.0 (for the newest devices), or, at least, 2.3
3) Android has poor UI and apps can’t look great on it
Few would argue that Android looked pretty ugly for several years at the beginning. But, thanks to engineers’ efforts, Android has considerably improved its UI. At the same time, the main problem that Android users face these days is the low quality of Android apps. But that isn’t the platform’s fault—it’s that developers are allowed to release apps of any quality.
Such “stars” as Flipboard, Wunderlist and Yahoo Weather work as smoothly on Android as they do in iOS:
4) Our target audience is not Android users
Nowadays, Android is so widespread that it’s hard to even draw the portrait of an average user. Many former iPhone users switched to top Android phones, but their habits have likely stayed the same.
As Samsung is the leading Android handsets manufacturer, we could take the following research results into account: iPhone buyers are slightly younger, better educated and have a higher income than those on Samsung.
I bet you know your customers pretty well, so simply compare this data with yours.
5) Android is hard to monetize
The most recent data from the app store analytics firm App Annie shows that as of the last quarter, iOS apps earned nearly three times more revenue than those on Android. So, in general, iOS applications bring in more money.
Chart by Distimo
Experts see several reasons for this: Android doesn’t require your credit card, smartphones in general are cheaper, and the majority of apps and services are granted for free.
But that doesn’t mean Android is hopeless. There are savvy developers, and they profit on Android. So you need to find the value that makes your customer want to pay for the app. The right monetization model for mobile still hasn’t been found.
Maybe you’ll be that savvy entrepreneur who invents it?
Android is rapidly spreading around the world, particularly in developing countries. This means it could take some time for it to realize its monetization potential. Look at the Distimo chart: currently, shares of revenues from iOS’ App Store and Android’s Google Play are 73 percent and 27 percent, respectively. But a year before, those numbers were more like 81 percent and 19 percent, respectively. Obviously, the situation is steadily improving.
So, do you need your business on Android? Yes, if:
- your service or product is so valuable that users are willing to pay for it, no matter it’s on iOS, Android or web;
- your app has a good chance to create a new category or re-imagine the existing one; the same with countries with the fastest Android adoption (Brazil, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Russia etc.)
- your app is supposed to be free and you’re using another monetization model (subscription, advertising, in-app purchases, of just growing in users)
- your business is connected to operating with physical goods or services (e.g. Amazon, Task Rabbit, Instacart) — this eliminates the platform factor;
Experts compare the current market situation between Android and iOS to the past rivalry between Mac and Windows. Nobody knows who will win this battle. Moreover, it’s hard to define victory: Windows is an absolute leader in installations, but Apple is leading in revenues.
Either way, tough competition between iOS and Android is great for developers and users — all participants win.