Mobile developer survey: Apple iOS most profitable platform, but even Windows Phone is viable

Vision Mobile has released the results of a survey of 6000 mobile developers, sponsored by Blackberry and Mozilla.

Reading through the survey reminds me that despite the critical importance of apps to mobile platforms, surveys which look at developer intent are poor predictors of the future health of specific platforms. High interest or even affection for some new platform tends to dissipate quickly if platform adoption is poor.

Developers influence the success of a platform by developing (or not developing) desirable apps, but this is only one among many factors. Others include:

  • Mobile operators: which devices are they promoting and subsidising most?
  • Devices: which has the right blend of looks, usability and features?
  • Fashion: which smartphones are my friends using?
  • Price: which devices are best value?
  • Marketing: which vendor is doing the best job?
  • Enterprise: in business, security and manageability are important

The report confirms the dominance of iOS and Android and is generally down on Windows Phone while there are more optimistic remarks than I had expected about Blackberry 10 and Firefox OS (but note the sponsors).

Here is a stat that caught my eye though:

Monthly Revenue per developer per platform:

  • $5,200 iOS
  • $4,700 Android
  • $3,600 Windows Phone
  • $2,900 HTML5
  • $1,200 Blackberry 10

There is more money in iOS and Android, but Windows Phone and to some extent HTML5 is financially viable too. On niche platforms like Windows Phone, I guess there is a benefit in having less competition.