I came across this quote from Cosential that captures the essence of why many developers are starting to prefer coding for the iPhone.
“In learning about development for the Blackbery platforms, we have to create a build for each phone and each network. As a developer, I just can’t afford it. Most of my customers right now have Blackberries. I think that in the next year or two they will have an iPhone. I am already hearing word that a few senior executives are asking the IT departments to check it out. We should be one of the first “Real” Enterprise developers who have a native iPhone application. We can do so much more in Objective C than the flavor of Java that runs on the Blackberry. And yes I know how powerful Java is. I also know how hard it is to develop for it.”
Developers aren’t a tricky breed. They like to code cool applications and get paid for it. The benefit of coding for the iPhone/iPod Touch is that the specs are the same and aren’t likely to change anytime soon. Coding across platforms takes more time, energy and money, and if the payoff isn’t there, then developers aren’t likely to adjust their code for the varying screensizes and hardware/software features specific to a particular phone.
Full featured app stores for Google’s Android and RIM’s BlackBerry Storm are coming soon, but when developers sit down to bang out some code, which phone specs will they be coding for? Will certain apps only be available for the Storm and not for other BlackBerry models? Will developers be dis-inclined to push the envelope and churn out cutting edge software, and instead develop code at the lowest common denominator so that their apps run on a variety of phones? These are important questions that developers will inevitably ask themselves before they decide whether or not it’s worth their while to code for Android and RIM’s assortment of BlackBerry models.
The number of iPhone and iPod Touch users is already well into the millions, and the ability to earn a substantial amount of money via the iTunes app store has already been proven. If Android and RIM want to challenge Apple in that particular space, they’ll have to do something to convince developers to either leave the iPhone, or code for two separate platforms. Either way, they have their work cut out for them.