Apple's iOS remains top draw for devs, but interest in Fire 'remarkable,' says pollster

New survey shows developers see Amazon's low-priced tablet as an app money maker

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Developers foresee other problems with the Fire as well, ranging from the lack of services -- including the usual Google services, like maps, that stock Android devices -- as well as features such as a camera.

Those missing elements and Amazon's customization of Android combined to make developers nervous, said Schwarzhoff, because it will force them to craft yet another version of their apps for the Fire.

"Fragmentation once again rears its ugly head," said Schwarzhoff, citing the 32% of polled developers who put fragmentation at the forefront of their Fire concerns. "Amazon co-opted the Android OS for its own purposes, so this is not your father's Android."

On the plus side is Amazon's track record of selling stuff to its customers.

"The Amazon audience is different than the usual for Android, they're used to paying for content," Schwarzhoff pointed out. "They have a 100-plus million pool of people used to paying for things."

Monetizing their work has been a problem for many Android developers, who suspect that the operating systems' users are a lot less likely to pay for apps than, say, iPhone and iPad owners.

But the Fire may be the exception to that rule.

"This paints a picture that's twice as attractive to developers, because it's a low-priced device from a company where a lot of people are purchasing content," said Schwarzhoff. "It's very Apple-esque, actually."

The survey also showed that developer interest in Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform is up -- 38% of those polled said they were very interested, an increase from last summer's 30% -- although there the bet is on the future, not the present.

"These developers are looking further out, not at the here and now," said Schwarzhoff, because they're figuring future moves will make the platform viable. Forty-two percent of European developers named the Nokia-Microsoft partnership as their No. 1 reason for interest in Windows Phone, while North American developers cited Windows 8's potential on tablets as their top factor.

"Nokia will have to show that the Lumia did well this holiday season," said Schwarzhoff, referring to the recent launch of the Windows Phone 7 devices that will take on the iPhone and Android smartphones.

Appcelerator and IDC have published an abridged version of their survey results on the former's website. A complete copy can be downloaded after registering with Appcelerator.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more articles by Gregg Keizer.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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