Originally Posted by m0rdread
If Android takes a significant lead over iOS, guess where the developers are going to go? Not saying that they would all leave iOS, but Android might start getting Apps first, and iOS second. The exact opposite of what is happening now. Because developers will go where they can get the most exposure, and thus the greatest potential for profit/exposure/fame...
There are two aspects to this: the installed base AND the demonstrated profitability of that base for the developers. As a developer you have you weight the cost of doing business with a given platform, the reliability of the platform and the income to cost ratio.
If developers, for example, see more income realized against their costs from charging for an app than for imbedding ads - they will go that route. If the reverse then the other route makes the most sense. The third route is a low-charge app with ads - a hybrid. The cost of the app is weighed by users against it's perceived value - whether high utility, ease of use or immersive or capturing quality. The higher the perceived value, the less resistive a consumer is to the cost to obtain the app, or to tolerate ad intrusiveness. That brings up the next factor - ad intrusiveness. Most free apps have more intrusive ads - to allow more opportunity for ad hits - which results in ad revenue returned. The problem is, when you depend on ad revenue, you immediately abstract your income source, and it becomes harder to determine what affects ad hits. Without isolating the factors affecting ad revenue the developer is always uncertain what to do to maximize income potential for the app.
Add to this platform pressures: For Google it is their desire to not have any paid apps at all - they derive the most value for their profitability from free apps all running ads. So developers are driven to depend on Google's ad revenue machine, which has been demonstrated to be easily hijacked by creative and resourceful web developers. And Google will want to get as much ad revenue out of the mobile space as they can at the outset, before other ad-revenue machines can establish their own share of the revenue pie.
For developers who are less certain about their viability the iOS platform has some reassurances for them by being well-supported, well-controlled and more mature, with a proven track record. For those who are more risk tolerant, the ad-driven space of Android is an acceptable risk. Many developers prefer to develop for more than one platform if it is feasible, as it spreads the risk across several sources, either mitigating failure, or building on success and popularity.
Apple's advantage is a more mature platform and proven profitability/popularity. Android's advantage is a growing ad revenue platform that could be even more profitable in the long run than the more controlled iOs platform. But it is critical to understand that Google is all about the ad revenue machine in the mobile space, and developers will be completely dependent on it.