If you're figuring out which mobile platform to launch on, here's a quick sketch on why you should choose iOS today, but maybe start with Android in the future. (Thanks to Matias Duarte (Director of User Experience, Android), Steve Jang (CEO, Schematic Labs), and Jake Mintz (Co-Founder, Bump Technologies) for sharing their experience here at the Mobile First Crunchup.)
- Are you a designer or a developer? There's a "cultural incumbency" for iOS with designers, so you tend to see better designed apps on iOS. Not to mention, iOS offers "pixel perfect" layout, so it's easy to get the design just as you like. On the other side, Android requires that you design for multiple layouts, which is just as complex as designing for different browsers. If you want a pretty app and only want to worry about one layout, you'll develop for iOS first. Advantage: iOS
- How important is the app ecosystem to you? Apple wins hands-down on maturity of its app ecosystem. It's well-understood by users, there's content in all of the categories, and they support all flavors of app. The AppStore also supports in-app transactions for both digital and physical goods. Since Apple and Google will take a 30% cut, so there's it's a wash on the cost side. Advantage: iOS
- How forward-looking is your vision? Android offers a great deal more platform flexibility than iOS does. And oh yes, here the cultural incumbency favors developers over designers. On Android, app makers can interweave apps, even without apps knowing about each other, and leverage all of the openness of the platform. Advantage: Android.
As Android's app ecosystem matures towards parity with the AppStore, there may be an even larger schism between the developer vs. designer faceoff happening today. Which is all well and good since in many ways, you can't go wrong with either platform - and realistically, you'll end up developing for both eventually.