Saturday, 29 June 2013

Mobile Market Share

I’ve just started reading Little Miss Geek: Bridging the Gap Between Girls and Technology by Belinda Parmar. One of the early chapters is entitled Five Reasons Why A Technology CEO Should care. One of the reasons is that Women Are Untapped Consumers In The Market. The basic argument is that if you can sell more products by targeting different groups of people in the market, why wouldn’t you? Businesses are there to make money and many of them, especially tech manufacturing businesses do that by selling more products. The more people you appeal to, the more products you sell, the more money you make. It’s common sense and not rocket science. I don’t see how anyone can argue with it.

However, this blog post isn’t about women in technology it’s about attitudes in mobile development. Reading this section of Little Miss Geek reminded me of a common argument  I have with many mobile developers. I’m always surprised, no shocked when a company or individual is only developing an application for iPhone or just for Android. Or they only want to learn about native iPhone development or are only interested in Android development because Apple is so restrictive. I could go on, but I won’t.

Whatever the actual share of the market is, iPhones and Android based phones both have a large part of it. It’s no argument to only target Android because they have a bigger share than the iPhone. What about all those iPhone users you’re not targeting.  Would you prefer to have 100% of the Android market and 0% of the iPhone market or 100% of both? Targeting only a single platform is not commercial suicide, but it does significantly reduce your potential consumers and therefore your profits, and profit is what it’s all about, right?

When I was a child I stopped programming my BBC because no one would ever use the software I wrote. I didn’t write any software for quite a while until we got a PC. Then I wrote a lot of C and later, professionally huge amounts of C++. I wrote a C++ based testing framework and strived to make it compile on as many platforms as possible as i wanted lots of people to use it. C++ is a pernickety language and people use it on all sorts of strange platforms with any number of varying compilers. If my framework wouldn’t compile with their compiler on their platform they wouldn’t (in fact couldn't) use it and I would lose a potential user. The different mobile platforms are just as pernickety as C++. If you don’t have something that works on all of them you lose potential users and revenue.

I’m not going to discuss cross platform mobile development versus native mobile development, that’s a whole other blog post and I am hoping that Boydlee Pollentine will put that one to bed at MobDevCon next week. My point is that if you target men, but not women or iPhones but not Android phones you restrict your potential sales, revenue and profit. And we all want more profit, right?

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