Slide from Benedict Evans presentation to Google’s ‘Mobile on the Go’ event

If you’re in the publishing business you have two options to reach mobile readers. You can publish direct to the web using HTML or you can build smartphone and tablet apps.

Both approaches allow you to charge for content and to publish advertising.

If you choose the app route, the next step is deciding which devices to support. That’s where it gets tricky.

You’d think raw numbers would decide matters. Yet while Android devices outsell Apple iOS devices by two to one, most publishers’ first choice is to build iOS apps.

That’s because Apple users buy stuff, Android users don’t. Or more accurately, Apple users spend so much more on buying apps and content compared with Android users.

It would be madness to adopt an Android-first strategy.

The decision to publish for Android is usually a distant second.

Martin Belam quotes Benedict Evans of Enders Analysis who explains the economics of this.

Most of the Android devices making up that huge market share are low cost phones or tablets. Often Android owners take whatever their phone company offers them in a deal. They don’t care about operating systems – they probably can’t tell you which OS their device is running and they probably barely use any of the functionality.

Only a fraction ever make it to the Google Play app store. If they do get there, they are more likely to choose free apps than paid ones.

Android users typically have a different, less intense relationship with their device than iOS users. This extends to the way they consume content.

2 thoughts on “Why fewer publishers support Android

  1. My inpolite way of thinking about it is that people who buy Apple have more money than brains and that extends to other purchases, lol.

  2. Nice to see an accurate observation. I’m a mobile developer (Android and iPhone) and I have to agree, although Android is my preference, it’s more popular for 2 reasons, more manufacturers, and cheaper handsets. In respect to why Android users don’t pay as much, it’s probably because the developer sign up is cheaper, and the development tools are much more accessible, along with Android being an open source project, there is a much bigger hobbyist following.

    Nice article, kudos.

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