The big news among mobile developers during the second quarter was the Web; or rather, how new Web services from mobile titans Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and Google (NSDQ: GOOG) would figure into mobile application development over the next several months. Developers are now prone to see Google+ as an alternative to Facebook when it comes to baking social technology into their apps, and they are interested in how iCloud might affect their plans.
IDC and Appcelerator’s joint survey of over 2,000 mobile developers using Appcelerator’s Titanium application development environment found that Web technologies were top of mind over the last three months, much more so than the usual iOS-Android platform struggle. As more and more developers rethink how to build their mobile apps–seeing them more and more as little platforms for commerce in their own right–they are realizing that the Web services they tie into their applications may wind up being just as important as the platform on which they choose to build, said Scott Schwarzoff, vice president of marketing for Appcelerator.
Given that the Google+ launch was probably the most buzzed-about debut of the summer (in tech, anyway) it’s not all that surprising that 68 percent of developers thought the budding service has a real shot to catch Facebook down the road as a mainstream social service. And they actually had reasons beyond the usual shiny-object hype: Google+ is so well integrated into a number of Google services that people use already, from search to Google Maps to Gmail to YouTube, that enough people will give the service a try, according to the survey.
In addition, the Circles organizational structure suits itself well to the mobile device, Schwarzoff said. When someone wants to share something on a mobile device with a limited group of people, they need an easy way to do that, and Circles allows them to do pick limited groups more easily than Facebook or Twitter contacts.
Until Google releases an API for Google+ and developers start mixing the service into their apps, we won’t know for sure how well the service translates to mobile. But iCloud, set to debut within the next several weeks, will have a more immediate impact on iOS developers, Schwarzoff said.
“iCloud unlocks the potential for what mobile can offer, and frees up the notion that everything must be stored on the device,” he said. Developers surveyed said they see iCloud as a rival to Amazon’s Web services products, and 58 percent are also looking forward to the arrival of a much-improved notifications system that will debut along with iOS 5 and iCloud.
As usual, the survey also covered developer preferences for various platforms, but there was little movement since the last quarter: Android and iOS are still the top priorities for Appcelerator developers (which is kind of a given in that Titanium only supports those two operating systems) and few are considering other alternatives. One new option for developers this quarter was to rate their interest in HTML5 as a development platform, and 66 percent said they were “very interested” in mobile Web applications.
A link to the full report can be found here.