Developers Beware: Device Agnostic is the Way to Go

Frustrated Android owners rejoiced when Instagram recently came out with the Android version after nearly a year. For the longest time, it was an iPhone-only app. Then, many people rejoiced (and many were annoyed) when Facebook bought Instagram last month for $1 billion.)

At Interapt, we’ve been watching the platform market very closely. Google has been nipping at Apple’s heels, and surpassing them in users, for a while. Google seems more focused on the power users who really want more work from their smart phones. We don’t see this with Blackberry and we’re doubtful about the Windows phone usage, so our developers are focusing their attention on iPhone and Android platforms. We believe it’s problematic for clients to have the perception that you’re an Apple-only or Android-only developer.

And while many people will point to Instagram as a success story of someone who focused on only one platform, compare that to the tens of thousands of apps that exist, and you start to understand that it was the idea and execution, and not the platform, that made Instagram such a success. Instagram is the exception, not the rule, to being device agnostic.

Developers will tell you that they prefer the Android platform because it’s a lot more open than Apple. We had a great example of this today – we had one of our iPhone apps in “App Purgatory” for five weeks, simply because we changed the title of the app to meet legal guidelines. We didn’t change any single line of code within the app, and it’s resulted in this launch delay. We deployed the same title change with Android and had their acceptance in less than 24 hours.

The architecture and programming languages for the Apple and the Android are so completely different, it would be like asking someone 15 years ago to load Apple software into a PC. At Interapt, our secret sauce is in our ability to leapfrog our programming on both platforms with the same user experience, data gathering and code generation. We’ve built internal tools to simplify this effort and minimize our developers’ time.

We think Apple will feel the pinch from Android’s fast-paced deployments, and eventually Apple will have to tighten up their approval process timelines just to stay competitive with Android. Until then, we’ll continue advocating that our clients create apps for both major platforms.

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