Choosing platform for my app: What should I consider?

With estimated more than 2 billions smartphone users in 2016, saying that mobile apps are playing important role in our lives on daily basis would be saying nothing. Average US adult citizen spent around 3 hours per day using his smarpthone on nonvoice activities last year. That’s 45 days in a year. This number doesn’t change much when it comes to users in EU.

Not suprisingly, the so called platform war was fierce, and only two preveiled: Android and iOS. Together they have over 90% market share. Everyday more than a thousand new apps are uploaded to both, App Store and Google Play. Windows Phone and Blackberry combined have only around 4% so it’s safe to say that generally they won’t be natural first choice.

So, you know which two operating systems to choose from when developing your app, the question is: which one will be right for you? Well, to answer this you need to consider couple of things described below.


operating-system-market-share.aspx_-1 (1)

Mobile/Tablet Operating System Share via Netmarketshare

Average price for iPhone is around 2.7 times more than Android devices. The latter has biggest market share globally which means you will be able to reach more users. It’s very popular in developing countries and lower income areas.

Android devices are more affordable and this indicates also that user might prefer free apps.

On the other hand iOS users usually have higher income and are willing to spend more. That might make the number of users slightly less relevant.

via Fortune

via Fortune

Of course, those characteristics are general and as such shouldn’t be considered as written in stone.

Revenue model

This aspect is somehow representative for Google’s and Apple’s approach. According to report from app analytics company App Annie, despite number of downloads is much bigger for Android, iOS is still generating more revenue.

via App Annie

via App Annie


Another important factor to consider is customer retention and loss rate. Two year research conducted by CIRP (Customer Intelligence Research Partners) in US market shows that around 80% of Android and iOS users are sticking with previous operating system.

Customer Retention and Loss – Previous and Current Operating System for Customers Activating a New Mobile Phone, 2013-Q3 – 2015-Q2 via CIRP

Customer Retention and Loss – Previous and Current Operating System for Customers Activating a New Mobile Phone, 2013-Q3 – 2015-Q2 via CIRP

Percentage of switchers from iOS to Android is slightly higher than from Android to iOS. However, the most interesting fact is that over 60% of first time phone buyers choose Android, it’s big difference comparing to iOS – 24%.

Security and updating

iOS is considered more safe than Android, mainly because the latter makes it easy to configure the OS to allow personalization and flexibility. One of the biggest advantage of Android is what makes it vulnerabe.

Apple works hard to ensure the latest version of iOS (and with that also security updates) is installed and is known for triggering mass updates. As of today around 80% of devices are using iOS 9. On the other hand, 35% of devices have Android v. 21 (Lollipop) installed and there is already another one – Android v. 23 (Marshmallow), yet only 1.2%.

Android OS versions via Android

Android OS versions via Android

iOS versions via Apple

iOS versions via Apple

All this means that on iOS you are able to focus more on newest versions while being sure that it will reach broad audience. This should allow to stop supporting older devices sooner and overall reduce time spent on testing.


Although tablet sales is slowing down, it’s estimated that in 2016, 15,6% of global population will use tablet. It suffices to say that number of potential users is not to be ignored.

Android is projected to hold over 60% of that market and iOS around 25%. However, it seems Apple’s iPad is more popular among business users. It will be a challenge to find Android tablet in a meeting room.


Hopefully, taking data from this article under cosideration when choosing platform for your app will be helpful in decision process. It all depends on your app so by keeping in mind all described factors you will be able to decide whether to support iOS, Android or both. It seems the best solution is to support both platforms right away but whatever you decide, don’t pick Blackberry as first choice :)

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