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

Although developer enthusiasm for Apple's iOS remains strong, app programmers are extremely interested in Amazon's Kindle Fire, the tablet that goes on sale Tuesday, a new survey said.

Appcelerator, a maker of cross-platform development tools, and research firm IDC polled more than 2,100 developers earlier this month to find that they still rank iOS -- the operating system that powers the iPhone and iPad -- as the top market for their work.

Ninety-one percent of the developers surveyed said they were "very interested" in creating apps for the iPhone, while 88% said the same for the iPad, numbers that have changed little for a year or more in Appecelerator's tracking.

The numbers for Android phones and tablets trail the iPhone and iPad by eight and 20 points, respectively.

But the most recent survey found new interest in Amazon's Kindle Fire and a renewed, if weaker, focus on Microsoft's Windows Phone 7.

"Basically, half of the developers in North America say they're very interested in the Kindle Fire," said Scott Schwarzhoff, vice president of marketing at the Mountain View, Calif.-based Appcelerator. "That's remarkable for a new device, and about the same level of interest as for the iPad just before its launch."

In a survey conducted in March 2010, just weeks before Apple kicked off first-generation iPad sales, 53% of developers acknowledged that they were very interested in creating apps for the tablet.

Amongst Android-powered tablets -- Amazon's Kindle Fire uses a modified version of Google's operating system -- only the Samsung Galaxy Tab garnered more votes, said Schwarzhoff.

Developers were especially impressed with the Fire's low price of $199, less than half that of the lowest-cost iPad, and the fact that Amazon had a ready-to-go content collection of books, music and other goods to sell to Fire owners.

Price has been a Holy Grail for developers, who see a direct correlation between the cost of a device and the potential pool of buyers for their apps. Last January, for example, developers picked price as the number one factor crucial to Android tablets' success.

But the inability by most Apple rivals to undercut the iPad soured some developers on Android earlier this year. Now, the price of the Fire has reenergized them.

"This entire year, Android has been going head-to-head with iPad at a $500 price point," said Schwarzhoff. "But now in comes a new device that is cheap and competing in a very different way..., not on screen size, but competing on content. It's no surprise that it's getting a very strong positive reaction from developers."

Success isn't guaranteed, of course, Schwarzhoff said, noting that Amazon will have to demonstrate that its customers are willing to buy apps before developers would really rush into the market.

Appcelerator survey
Apple's iOS remains the top platform for mobile app developers, with 91% saying their very interested in creating for the iPhone.
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