Web Sites vs. Web Apps: What the experts think

The term “web app” has been around for the past years – we’ve all heard it and used it more times than we care to remember. Yet there remains a debate on where “web sites” end, and “web apps” begin. Guest author Ciprian Borodescu presents the opinions of several prominent figures in the web technology domain and discusses the ‘app-ification’ of the web.

Web sites vs. web apps

Definitions of web sites vs. apps

Web sites are so deeply embedded into our daily culture that it is impossible to imagine life without them. Even as a developer, I find it hard to remember the times from my childhood when my chubby little hands didn’t yet know how to type. In the last two decades, the Internet has grown, expanded, exploded and became impossible to ignore, making any keyboard without an Internet connection pretty much useless.

In the last few years, the web brought with it a new term that can be exciting and confusing at the same time: “web app”.

But what is a “web app”, how does it differentiate from a “web site” and why does it matter? Continue reading Web Sites vs. Web Apps: What the experts think

Creating an Ecosystem: The Lessons from BREW OS

What can BREW OS teach us about ecosystems? Qualcomm’s Steve Sprigg takes us on a trip down memory lane and gives us an insider view of the history of BREW OS and the lessons learned for Qualcomm.


Imagine creating an operating system used on a billion devices and an app store serving millions of apps every day and then consciously making a decision to back away from driving the product. Sound far-fetched? That’s exactly what Qualcomm did when we made the decision to step back from aggressively pushing our BREW OS and app download business in favor of other emerging smartphone and tablet platforms.

To understand why we did that and why it was the right decision a bit of history is in order. Continue reading Creating an Ecosystem: The Lessons from BREW OS

Developer Economics: App market forecasts 2013-2016

The global app economy was worth $ 53Bn in 2012, and expected to rise to $ 143Bn in 2016. As part of our new Developer Economics: App Economy Forecasts 2013-2016 report, Senior Analyst, Andreas Pappas, examines developer population, platforms, revenues, and revenue models and shows how app store sales are just a small part of the app economy.


In the past few years the mobile industry has experienced a powerful upheaval sparked by the launch of the first iPhone and the creation of the first, true app ecosystem. This event brought about a gradual restructuring of the mobile value chain and a steady shift in value from the traditional pillars of the mobile economy, telco services and mobile handsets into app ecosystems. This emerging component of the value chain is what we call the “mobile app economy” and it represents the fastest growing area in the mobile value chain today and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Continue reading Developer Economics: App market forecasts 2013-2016

VisionMobile publishes Developer Economics Q3 2013

We’re proud to present our latest Developer Economics report – the 5th in our highly acclaimed developer research series! The full report is [vm_form_download link_text=’available for download’ product_id=’4062′] on PDF – but you can also visit our newly-launched Developer Economics portal for more data and insights!

State of the Developer Nation is the 5th in the series of Developer Economics reports, based on the largest, most global developer survey (over 6,000 respondents from 115 countries). This report tracks the state of mobile ecosystems, developer mindshare, monetisation trends, revenue models and developer tools.

[Report] Developer Economics Q3 2013 – State of the Developer Nation

We’re happy to announce the launch of our new Developer Economics report, based on the largest, most global developer survey (6,000+ respondents from 115+ countries). You can [vm_form_download link_text=’download a free copy’ product_id=’4062′] of this latest report, that tracks the state of mobile ecosystems, developer mindshare, monetisation trends, revenue models and developer tools.

Developer Economics Q3 2013

The full report is available for [vm_form_download link_text=’free download’ product_id=’4062′] – but you can also view the web version, in our newly-launched Developer Economics website and comment on specific sections of the report! In this article we’ll just present some of the key insights – but stay tuned for more Developer Economics articles, based on data from our latest survey!

Developer Mindshare Q3 2013

The Mobile Developer Mindshare Q3 2013 shows Android leading at 71% of developers using the platform, followed by iOS at 56%.

HTML5 has entrenched itself as a mobile development technology of choice, with 52% of the developer population using HTML5 technologies for developing mobile apps.

Developer Mindshare Q3 2013

Once we double click on that 52% of HTML5 mobile mindshare, a kaleidoscope of colour and options appears. The largest share (38%) of HTML5 developers develop mobile websites with another 23% developing mobile apps, i.e. incorporating offline functionality and deeper browser integration. Hybrid apps, such as those produced by PhoneGap account for 27% of HTML5 mobile developers. A minority of 7% of HTML5 mobile developers use platforms exposing native APIs via JavaScript, such as Firefox OS and BlackBerry 10. Last but not least, 5% of HTML5 mobile developers use a Javascript-to-native converter tool like Appcelerator.

Up-and-coming platforms

BlackBerry has been successful in transitioning BB legacy developers over to its new BB10 platform, with the new platform having almost the same mindshare as the legacy BlackBerry 5/6/7 had just before the release of BB10 six months ago.

The strong interest in Windows Phone observed in past surveys is still there (35% of developers planning to adopt WP) but has subsided by 12 percentage points since Q1 2013. Mobile developers now have a wide gamut of options with challenger platforms competing for their attention. Windows 8 is at 40% of Mobile Developer Intentshare, followed by BlackBerry 10 (28%) and Firefox OS (capturing 27% of all developers planning to adopt a platform).

Platform selection and consolidation

There is no one-size fits all in mobile platforms. Our research shows that iOS is selected more frequently than average by developers that value revenue potential (+12%), graphics (+7%), app discovery (+8%) and user reach (+10%). Developers tend to use HTML5 more frequently as their primary platform when they value porting (+9%) and speed & cost of development (+4%). BlackBerry 10 is used more frequently than average as a primary platform by developers valuing developer community programmes (+16%). And Windows Phone is most popular for developers looking for the right development environment (+3%) and documentation (+2%).

Which platform is right for me

Whether hobbyists or IT managers of Fortune-500 companies, developers use 2.9 mobile platforms concurrently, according to our recent survey of 6,000+ mobile developers. This is the first time we are observing a shift towards diversification, with our earlier 2011-2012 research pointing towards continual platform consolidation: on average mobile developers used 3.2 mobile platforms in our 2011 survey, compared to 2.7 in 2012 and 2.6 in our Q1 2013 research.

Platform prioritisation

At 2.9 concurrent platforms on average, today’s developer is multi-platform. In this world, not all platforms are equally important to a developer. Prioritisation has an impact on which platform are new apps and features first rolled out, as well as the focus, app quality, sales and revenue on that platform. Our data shows that 84% of mobile developers are using iOS, Android or HTML5 (mobile) as their primary platform.

Our research shows a strong lead of iOS over Android with 49.4% vs 59% of platform developers preferring it as their main platform. Whereas Android has 4x times more devices shipping and a significant lead in Mobile Developer Mindshare, it lags behind iOS in terms of Android developers using it as their lead platform.

Platform prioritsation

Platform priorities also depend on the level of experience. Developers who are fresh to mobile have a much stronger preference towards Android, with almost twice as many new mobile developers preferring Android (40%) than iOS (21%).

Revenues and revenue models

At $5,200 per developer per month on average, iOS continues to be the most revenue generating platform for developers, and ahead of Android developer monthly revenues by a margin of 10%.

App revenues per platform

Our research of 6,000+ mobile developers shows that there is no single revenue model that is dominant across all platforms. On Windows Phone, developers have a strong preference towards in-app advertising (43%) and pay-per download (40%). BlackBerry 10 developers have a strong preference towards pay-per download (47%). The picture is much more balanced on Android, iOS and HTML5, with no revenue model dominating to the extent observed on Windows Phone or BlackBerry 10.

Developer motivations

Contrary to popular perception, money is not the only motivator for mobile app developers – in fact, far from it. Revenues – in some form or other – are the goal for only 50% of mobile developers.

The hierarchy of developer motivations shows some surprising findings. At the base of the pyramid, the majority (53%) of mobile developers are motivated by creativity or the sense of achievement, making this the most popular among motivators. The fun of making an app, is a motivator for 40% of mobile developers.

Developer tools

Our research shows that developer tools are in the must-have app development arsenal of the most sophisticated developers, and also those making most revenues. Across the tools spectrum, iOS developers are the most active and sophisticated users, with 92.5% reporting that they use at least one tool. iOS developers therefore have a clear advantage as being most advanced in tool use, and therefore having the infrastructure to innovate and differentiate.

Read the [vm_form_download link_text=’full report’ product_id=’4062′] for more insights and data on the latest mobile development trends!

More Developer Economics reports

With the release of State of the Developer Nation, we’d also like to present two more reports, based on Developer Economics data.

Developer Segmentation

Developer Segmentation 2013

The definitive study of developer segments and the hierarchy of developer motivations: Extensive profiling of the 8 principle developer segments, based on desired outcomes, personal motivators and success metrics.

  • How do the eight mobile developer segments contribute to the app economy?
  • Which developer segments should you approach, and at which stage of your developer program?
  • How should you approach each segment?




App Economy Forecasts 2013-2016

Developer population, platforms, revenues, and revenue models sizing and forecasts 2013-2015. Sizing the app economy: developer population by region and platform, distribution of revenues, revenue models and forecasts.

  • What is the size of the developer communities for the three key mobile platforms (Android, iOS, HTML)?
  • Which are the most lucrative revenue models for developers?
  • What are the relative sizes of the app economy?

Rise of the Mega SDK Vendors in Mobile

[A new SDK economy has sprung up to support the needs of the 500,000+ mobile developers and the app economy. Guest author Panos Papadopoulos reviews the growth and rapid consolidation of the SDK economy and the impending rise the Mega SDK vendors]


Many would argue that the mobile platform consolidation in the form of today’s Apple / Google duopoly is a good thing for developers; less choice, but two mature platforms and a billion-smartphones addressable market. Despite the platform consolidation, developers face real challenges not just in developing, but also in prototyping, designing, marketing, selling and supporting apps.

The quality bar for apps is increasing; apps need to incorporate more functionality in a slicker UI, a sexier package (graphical assets and messaging), as well as through the right marketing channels and at the right price, which is usually free-to-try. App consumers are demanding, expecting utility, convenience and easy of use – all at a low or free price point with monetization shifting from paid downloads to advertising and in-app purchases. Enterprise apps have to talk to legacy systems, be an effective part of a company’s business strategy, enhance brand image, while being secure, reliable and cost efficient to develop and maintain. Continue reading Rise of the Mega SDK Vendors in Mobile