Another reason why developing for iOS has to be first

Having fun with Prisma, launched on iOS first and Android a week later.

Having fun with Prisma, launched on iOS first and Android a week later.

Product Hunt, one of the best (if not the best) site for surfacing new products, announced its finalists for the various Golden Kitty awards this week. I gravitated to the “mobile app of the year” award page to take a look at the nominees. Aside from spending time trying a few of them out (how did I not download Prisma before today?) I wanted to use this list to answer an important question: for successful, recently launched apps what came first, Android or iOS?

As an side, finalists were chosen “through a mix of community suggestion, data, and PH secret sauce,” meaning that it’s not entirely transparent but the Product Hunt community has surfaced great stuff in the past so these finalists are probably, at worst, a good representation of popular, new apps.

These are the finalists for mobile app of the year and their launch date on iOS and Android:

Apps, ranked by current upvotes In their words… iOS launch date Android launch date
Prisma AI that turns your photos into artwork in seconds 7/8/2016 7/15/2016
Hardbound Stories for curious minds 9/13/2016 No
Polymail iOS Simple, beautiful, powerful email for iOS 2/26/2016 No
Ulli Self-driving Internet. The first AI-powered mobile browser 10/13/2016 Planned
Houseparty If FaceTime was built as a social network (launched by Meerkat team) 9/28/2016 9/28/2016
Tinycards The future of learning with flashcards, by Duolingo 7/19/2016 No
Notion Artificial intelligence-powered email. 10/19/2016 10/19/2016
Whale Video Q&A with influencers and experts 10/13/2016 No
Anchor Record bite-sized podcasts that anyone can join 2/9/2016 8/25/2016
INKHUNTER Try tattoos in real-time with augmented reality 4/15/2016 10/6/2016
Dropbox Paper Mobile Organize your team’s knowledge in a single place 8/3/2016 8/3/2016
Nexar Turn your phone into an AI Dashcam 2/12/2016 8/31/2016
Bobby Keep track of your subscriptions 3/30/2016 No
To Round Task manager designed for visual thinkers 3/14/2016 3/14/2016
Airmail for iOS One of the best Mac email clients, now on iPhone 2/1/2016 No
Listen A smart phone number 11/17/2016 No
Front for iOS The first inbox for teams 9/30/2016 No
Lemon Know where your money’s going 6/16/2016 No
Winnie Great activities and destinations for families 6/9/2016 No
Hop The new face of email is fast, elegant, powerful, expressive 11/14/2016 11/29/2016

Out of these 20 apps, considered the best/most popular of 2016, all were launched on iOS first. Of the 20, 6 launched an Android version on the same day or within two weeks of launching iOS, 3 launched about half a year later, and 11 don’t have an Android version yet (though, to be fair, those launched later in the year might still intend to launch an Android app soon.)

To decide what platform to develop for, Adam Sinicki compares Android and iOS across five criteria: development platform (tie,) design (Android guidelines are better,) fragmentation (iOS wins easily,) publishing restrictions (Android wins,) and profits (iOS.) To those five I add the marketing angle. Even though the worldwide market share for Android is now at 88%, with iOS only at 12.1%, in the US iOS marketshare is at 40.5%, and a two year old study claims that iOS marketshare in San Francisco is over 80%. What this means is that almost everybody in the tech community, especially early adopters that love trying new apps and that can generate enough awareness and hype to get traction, have iPhones. To get their attention, iOS development has to be first, unless the app is targeted for an audience outside the US and Europe. End of discussion?

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