iOS vs Android

Yesterday someone told me that Google’s Android devices have shipped more units than iOS devices in Q3 and Q4 of 2012 — I will check and recheck my source on this. That’s a big claim, but seems plausible considering that Android ships on a lot more than your basic tablets. Android is in a lot of things, including smart televisions and many manufacturer’s smart phones.

It leaves me wondering…has Android finally got the momentum to dominate the small device market, smart phones, etc. More importantly to me, does it have developer interest?

I’m convinced that a successful computing platform for tablets and phones must serve two consumers. First, those customer-consumers that buy the devices and use them day to day must be happy with the usability and overall fitness of the OS. Second, the developer-consumer must be convinced that the platform is easy to develop for. The OS and platform tool chain must be robust and complete. Otherwise, developer interest fades quickly. Without developers, you simply don’t have those random, goofy, hacked apps that seed a market. Without those apps, customer-consumers don’t have any motivation to discover a newer platform.

I’ve finally made my own choice though…my choice about which platform I’m going to develop for. There’s no doubt that I’m fascinated by Android. So fascinated, in fact, that I suspect that many future posts will be devoted to Android. However, I’m going to use a couple tool sets. Of course, I’m going to write native applications in Java, but I’m also going to try something relatively new for me. I’m going to look at… PhoneGap. I only know the idea behind PhoneGap, and I haven’t tried to develop with it yet. However, that’s going to change too.

You know what’s the best thing about PhoneGap? Ready? It’s that you write your application once using PhoneGap APIs, and that application should now run on multiple platforms. I’ve always been fascinated and pulled into this promised of write once and deploy to many devices. Well, PhoneGap promises that. Interestingly, it’s taking on the same job that Java did a long time ago. Oddly, though, I recall that Java never quite made it onto the desktop. And instead of being the common language of all these devices, the common language seems to be descriptive HTML, CSS, and JavaScipt. Of course, my curiously can’t be satisfied easily. I’m going to give both a try: a native Android application and a PhoneGap one. Which will be easier to use? 

I suspect that the native application will be the snappiest, most desired application. However, I want to be pleasantly surprised by Phone Gap. In fact, I’d like to be so delighted with Phone Gap that I give up my other toolsets. In addition to having a single src code that works for both iOS and Java, I’d love to have that single tool chain that can help me develop apps across platforms too!

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