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Android OS Vs. Apple iOS – Which is Better for Developers?

Pros and Cons of the Android OS and the Apple iOS

By

May 24, 2011

With the number of smartphone users increasing each day, there is an equal increase in the number of app developers for the same. Though developers have a whole lot of mobile platforms to choose from, they would most probably select one of the two most sought-after mobile OS’ today, Apple's iOS and Google’s Android. So, which of these is better for developers and why? Here is a detailed comparison between the Apple iOS and the Android OS for developers.

Programming Language Used

HTC One (M8) vs Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs iPhone 5S
janitors/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

The Android OS uses mainly Java, which is the common programming language used by developers. Hence, developing Android gets that much easier for most developers.

The iPhone OS uses Apple’s Objective-C language, which can mostly be unravelled by app developers who are already familiar with C and C++. This being more exclusive, may become a stumbling block for developers who are not too proficient in other programming languages.

Developing Multi-Platform Apps

Developing multi-platform apps seems to be the “in” thing today. Of course, you cannot run Java-based apps on the iPhone or Objective-C-based apps on Android devices.

There are tools for multi-platform app development today. But they may not be effective when it comes to actually displaying the original information on another mobile OS. Mobile game developers especially find cross-platforming a huge challenge. 

Hence, the only viable, long-term solution here would be to rewrite your app in the device’s own native language.

App Development Platform

Android offers developers an open development platforms and allows them the liberty to use third-party tools for app development. This helps them play around with many features of their app, adding more functionality to them. This is vital to the success of this platform, which comes with an impressive range of mobile devices.

Apple, on the other hand, is pretty restrictive with their developer guidelines. The developer here is given a fixed set of tools to develop apps and cannot use anything outside of those. This would eventually curb his creative skills to a large extent.

Multitasking Abilities

The Android OS is very versatile and can help developers create dynamic apps for multiple purposes. But this very multitasking ability of the Android OS very often creates problems for the amateur Android developer, since it takes a lot of time to learn, understand and master. This, combined with Android’s highly fragmented platform, poses a real challenge to the Android developer.

In contrast, Apple presents a more stable, exclusive platform for app developers, clearly specifying tools, defining both their potential and boundaries. This makes it much easier for the iOS developer to proceed with the task ahead of him.

Mobile App Testing

Android offers an excellent testing environment for its developers. All the testing tools available are neatly indexed and the IDE offers a good model of the source code. This lets developers test their app thoroughly and debug wherever required, before presenting it to the Android Market.  

Apple’s Xcode lags far behind Android’s standards here and has miles to go before it can even hope to catch up with the latter.

App Approval

The Apple App Store takes 3-4 weeks for app approval. They are also finicky and place many restrictions on the app developer. Of course, this factor has not deterred the several hundreds of developers approaching the App Store every month. Though Apple also offers an open API using which developers can host the app on their site, this is not very effective, as the app cannot get even a fraction of that exposure outside the App Store.

The Android Market, on the other hand, presents no such stiff resistance to the developer. This makes it very convenient for the Android developer.

Payment Procedure

iOS developers can earn 70% of the revenue generated from the sales of their app in the Apple App Store. But they have to pay an annual fee of $99 to gain access to the iPhone SDK.

Android developers, on the other hand, only need to pay a one-time registration fee of $25 and can earn 70% of revenue of the sales of their app in the Android Market. They can also feature the same app in other app marketplaces too, if they so wish.

Conclusion

In conclusion, both the Andriod OS and the Apple iOS have their own pluses and minuses. Both are equally strong contenders and are bound to rule the app marketplace with their own strengths and positives.

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