Android Jobs to Surpass iPhone jobs by end of 2012

Android may be the largest mobile platform in terms of units sold, but it has been clear for some time now that iOS still offers developers greater returns than Android (or indeed any other platform). iOS users download more apps and pay more for them than users of any other platform, including Android, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.

Of course selling apps directly to platform users is only one of the monetization options available for mobile app developers. Instead of selling apps in the app store, many freelance developers are selling their skills to businesses, big and small, to make branded apps that are often free to end users. In their report Developer Economics 2011, the excellent team at Vision Mobile highlighted how big brands are embracing mobile and developing, or having someone else develop, their own mobile apps.

The chart below, from the Developer Economics 2011 report, shows the journey that companies go through to reach their customers via mobile. As outlined, brands go through 3 stages of development: initially outsourcing development for Apple only apps, then using outside developers to make Android and other platforms apps before finally bringing the development in-house and seeking to monetize the mobile route to market.

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The opportunities for freelance developers exist in the first two stages, when brands are setting out to get into mobile. Most of the big brands already have Apple apps in deployment and getting ready to move into the ‘street smart’ phase of outsourcing the deployment of multiple platform apps.

Evidence from, the world’s largest outsourcing marketplace, suggests a shift in freelance requirements from iPhone jobs to Android jobs. Outsourced iOS jobs still saw steady growth at 9% in Q1 2011, but Android jobs are up a solid 20%. “If Android work continues at this growth rate, it will surpass the iPhone category by the end of 2012” in terms of freelance work, the company said.

With more devices than any other platform an Android app is an essential component in any marketer’s tool kit. The fragmentation issues that plague Android make developing those first Android apps too time consuming for an internal team – which makes for an excellent opportunity for freelance developers to offer their services instead. 

So, if you’re a freelance developer now might be the time to start polishing up on your Android development skills to corner next year’s Android market.

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