Angry Birds Developer: Apple Will Be #1 a Long Time

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Apple’s iOS ecosystem will be “the number one platform for a long time from a developer’s perspective,” according to Peter Vesterbacka, the lead developer for Rovio, the maker of the fabulously successful Angry Birds franchise. In an interview with Tech n’ Marketing, Mr. Vesterbacka spoke about the differences between developing for iOS and Android, and one of his observations is that paid content “just doesn’t work on Android.”

“Apple will be the number one platform for a long time from a developer perspective, they have gotten so many things right. And they know what they are doing and they call the shots,” he said in his interview.

He noted that Android is a growing platform, but added that it’s also growing in terms of complexity. “Device fragmentation not the issue,” he said, “but rather the fragmentation of the ecosystem. So many different shops, so many different models. The carriers messing with the experience again. Open but not really open, a very Google centric ecosystem. And paid content just doesn’t work on Android.”

While the smartphone platform wars are relatively new, data bandied about during the late Summer showed that while 57% of Android apps were free, they accounted for 98.9% of Android downloads. Going back a year, Android developers were concerned about their ability to actually sell apps.

Mr. Vesterbacka isn’t overly concerned about that, however, and he believes the key to being successful on multiple platforms is simply understand that they are different, and to act accordingly.

“[Apple CEO Steve Jobs] is absolutely right when he says that there are more challenges for developers when working with Android. But that’s fine, developers will figure out how to work any given ecosystem and as long as it doesn’t cause physical pain, it’s OK wink. Nobody else will be able to build what Apple has built, there just isn’t that kind of market power out there.”

He added, “That doesn’t mean that model is superior, it’s just important to understand that Apple is Apple and Google is Google. Different. And developers need to understand that.”

To wit, Angry Birds was released on Android as a free, ad-supported app, while it is US$0.99 for iPhone (no ads), and $4.99 on iPad.

“Free is the way to go with Android,” Mr. Vesterbacka said. “Nobody has been successful selling content on Android. We will offer a way to remove the ads by paying for the app, but we don’t expect that to be a huge revenue stream.”

Which fits into the fact that Android was conceived from the get-go by Google as a mobile platform that Google could exploit for ad opportunities. That developers aren’t making much money selling apps for the platform isn’t likely to be as important a concern for Google as whether or not the company can serve ever-more ads on the device through its apps.

Comments

mirsad comoner

We will see about that

Jbrown

That’s baloney. The reason people aren’t paying for apps is because we’re waiting for apps that are worth paying for. I’d have paid a dollar for Angry Birds, hell I’d probably paid 3 bucks for full version without ads, but they gave me the full version for free…that’s Mr. Vesterbacka’s fault, not the platform or Google’s

rob

offer it for free take it for free. it’s not rocket science.

Thuan

I bought the Samsung Captivate when it first came out. It was considered the most advanced Android phone. While the phone and the OS are really nice but I feel the apps have a crappy build to them. I switched back to the iPhone within 3 months. Dont get me wrong, I love the phone but I cant deal with crappy apps. Even paid apps on the Android Market have less quality than the free ones on the iPhones made by the same developers.

Beanster

Observe the name of this URL. Give credit where the credit is due. This is like a political campaign. The next thing would be “Concerned citizens against free apps.” LOL.

Sooper Genius

I would buy a WindowsPhone 7 just for Angry Birds.

You know, if Microsoft acquired Rovio, they could make Angry Birds exclusively for Windows Phone 7, *and* get technical expertise on how to develop ad-supported software. This one acquisition will help Windows Phone Platform, and who knows. It may even save Bing!

Shawn Mc

I would love to buy some quality apps and games on my Droid 2. There are not all that many worth buying. The ones that are worth buying are buried beneath layers of garbage apps. There definitely needs to be some better quality control over what makes it into the Android Market. I would love to have an iPhone for all these reasons. But, I am not willing to give up Verizon for a few more good apps.

RonMacGuy

Wow, good stuff here.  “waiting for apps that are worth paying for”?!?!?  So you are saying that Android doesn’t have apps that are worth paying for?  Really?  Oh, and the “We will see about that” comment?  Really?  Wow.  Keep it coming!!

Chris

The reason people aren?t paying for apps is because we?re waiting for apps that are worth paying for.

Great logic.  Here’s the thing, Android development is in its infancy and given the plethora of devices on the market, its actually harder than programming for iOS.  You’re saying that an Android app needs to be a homerun right out of the gate to be even worth a purchase. 

New developers need to be fostered, or else they’ll lose interest and pick up sticks to another platform. The iPhone benefited when users rapturously bought the first crop of applications.  The consumer interest was enough to cement the developer community, attracting more talent and eventually delivering top quality apps.

From the tone of your comment and others like it seems like the Android userbase won’t extend the same goodwill to their developers.

ctopher

It’s not goodwill. Apple made sure (through the app vetting process everyone hates) that the apps were in fact well made.

ljtowle

Steve Jobs created a rigorus development process that has been labeled as closed and controlled.  True statements in many regards.  But the bottom line is that users expect fast, error-free code that’s reliable and supported.  They are even willing to PAY for it! 

Android apps will never catch up to Apples apps because of these factors.  Haven’t seen any end-user desktop application market share being eaten by Linux lately, have you?

Herba

Even Apple “close app store” could not filter all the apps that send private info wihtout user consent, now imagine Android “no control” apps.

imo you need some kind of control to avoid:
1. malware apps
2. zillions of trash apps that make searching difficult.
3. A way to rated apps to even sort out the best ones.

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