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Published 08 January 2013 08:27, Updated 14 January 2013 07:23
One of Australia’s leading smartphone and tablet app developers believes this will be the year business apps built for Google’s Android operating system become “first class citizens” alongside those for Mac devices.
Danny Gorog, director of Outware Mobile, says businesses who take their online presence seriously will need to invest in native apps for iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
“This time last year people were only asking for Mac apps,” says Danny Gorog, director of Outware Mobile. “But now we’re being asked to do native iPhone, native iPad and Android apps. I see in a year’s time Android will be as big as iOS for our business.”
The Melbourne-based company was Australia’s top performer in Deloitte’s Fast 500 list for the Asia-Pacific, and is on track to record 300 per cent annual revenue growth in the 2013 financial year. It designed the country’s most popular sports app, AFL Live, as well as building apps for SEEK, Sensis, NIB and a range of government departments.
Industry research group IDC says Android had a 75 per cent share of the smartphone market in the third quarter of last year, with Apple’s iOS second at 15 per cent. But the success of Google’s rivalry with Apple can be hard to gauge because its Android system is available across a much greater array of price points, including cheap, entry-level phones.
Gorog says Android devices like Samsung’s highly-regarded Galaxy models have only recently helped Android gain ground on more expensive phones.
“That sort of change has only been in the last six to 12 months,” Gorog says. “It takes that long for businesses to get their act together. Now is the time they are investing in building apps for those platforms. It took the iPhone to have millions of sales before they decided to start building native apps.”
Despite Android’s commanding lead in terms of the number of handsets that use it, Gorog says the overall quality of iOS apps is still “much higher”. This owes in part to the much lower requirements Google has for companies wishing to submit apps. He says businesses find it easier to charge users for iOS apps rather than providing them for free. But that is set to change.
“I think what’s happening in general is Google are making it much easier for consumers to buy apps, and there are more quality apps coming to market. As a business you will want to make sure you have quality native apps on all the platforms.
“Android will become a first class citizen, treated with the same regard as iOS is being treated now.”
He said there was “no interest in Blackberry”, although Microsoft’s Windows Mobile could potentially challenge the two market leaders.
He said Samsung’s decision to launch devices that run on Tizen, a rival mobile system backed by Intel and Vodafone that could reduce its reliance on Google, could backfire.
“I’m sceptical,” Gorog says. “It takes a lot of effort to build a successful platform. Companies like Samsung are not traditionally good at doing that and Intel have tried that on a number of occasions and failed.”