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Building on a Mobile Platform: Why iOS Today, Android Tomorrow

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By Christine Herron (Director, Intel Capital)

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.

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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.

(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.)

This post was originally posted at Christine.net.

Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.

About the guest blogger: Christine Herron is a Director at Intel Capital. She is a Venture Advisor at 500 Startups and an advisor to SSE Labs. Previously, Christine was a Principal with First Round Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm. As a Director at Omidyar Network, she developed the Media practice strategy and drove $15M in early-stage placements. Christine holds an MBA from Stanford University, and a BA in English at Columbia University. Follow her on Twitter at @christine.

  • http://www.thinkspace.com Peter Chee

    Great article.

    True that Android is more open in terms of how apps are able to interweave themselves. However, I know of one company (no I don’t work for them) that created an API that allows their iOS app (Credit Card Terminal) by http://www.innerfence.com to be interwoven with other apps. They also have some pretty nice documentation on how to develop with it.

    It seems like there are some pretty good frameworks out there that allow a company to build apps cross platform with native code in both iOS and Droid. So I agree, eventually you’ll want to have apps on both platforms.