Union Square

Android is a mess, say developers

April 4, 2011: 11:51 AM ET

A new survey analyzes the pros and cons of writing for various mobile platforms

Source: Baird

On the heels of the debate played out over the weekend between Union Square Ventures' Fred Wilson and Instapaper's Marco Arment about whether it's wiser to be writing apps for Apple's (AAPL) iOS or Google's (GOOG) Android come the results a survey of 250 working developers released Monday by Baird's William Powers.

Wilson, a venture capitalist, has been advising developers to write first for Android, predicting that the iPhone vs. Android battle will turn out to be a replay of Windows vs. Macintosh.

Arment, a developer, thinks that's bad advice. He believes Android's market share gains may be illusory -- especially when the rise of the iPad is taken into account -- and that as a development environment, Google's OS has serious shortcomings.

Baird's survey suggests that developers have taken Wilson's advice. 71% of respondents said they were writing apps for Android vs. 62% for iOS. (None of the other platforms drew more than 27%.)

But the survey also suggests that programmers writing for Android are finding the ecosystem to be every bit as perilous as Arment predicted.

Among the problems that surfaced:

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