Android and iOS, two of the most popular mobile application development platforms occupy most of our smartphones no matter the geographical location. The two operating system development platforms are quite different in their development and maintenance approaches despite having some architectural similarities. Even in popularity, both platforms differ quite a lot. According to a report by Statista, android in 2023 occupies the 70.8 percent of the total mobile OS market share whereas its closest rival iOS occupies 28.4 percent.
Android vs iOS
Started in 2007 and developed by Google, android has grown to be a mammoth in terms of devices uses with over 3 times more iOS users across the globe and the reason behind this is quite simple, that is affordability. The android platform is used by various higher, medium and lower-end smartphone manufacturing companies which expand the android access tremendously unlike iOS. The iOS platform is used exclusively by its developer APPLE INC. (started in 2007) and more people in developed countries such as USA and UK use iPhones which come with iOS platform. As per Statcounter, iOS accounts for 57.38% market share in the United States and android only accounts for 42.15% market share as of 2022-23. In United Kingdom, this is 50.79% and 48.71% and in India, which is a developing country, it is 4.18% and 94.64% respectively.
In the fast-paced world of mobile application development, both of these dominant operating systems, Android and iOS, have held a constant rivalry, both offering distinct development environments and advantages.
Let’s explore the key differences and benefits of Android development and iOS development, shedding light on their unique aspects, aiding aspiring developers in choosing the right platform for their projects.
Development Environment for android and iOS
Software developers understand that the development environment plays a vital role in the app development process and both offer separate yet efficient development environment. The Android developers typically use Java or Kotlin for coding, utilizing a diverse range of tools and libraries available through the Android Software Development Kit (SDK) whereas the iOS developers primarily rely on the object-oriented programming language named Swift, which offers an intuitive and streamlined development experience.
iOS developers also have access to the robust iOS Software Development Kit (SDK), granting them a wide array of pre-built UI elements and frameworks to work with.
Fragmentation vs Consistency
Android's open-source nature gives rise to a level of device fragmentation. Due to the vast number of manufacturers and hardware configurations, Android developers face the challenge of optimizing their apps for multiple devices, screen sizes, and OS versions. Conversely, iOS is limited to Apple devices and offers a more consistent and controlled ecosystem. The consistency thus allows iOS developers to create apps that function seamlessly across various Apple devices without having to worry about optimizing the operating system/apps for multiple devices.
Both Android and iOS have distinct design guidelines that dictate how applications should look and behave. Android development follows the Material Design guidelines, which prioritize clean and responsive interfaces, intuitive navigation, and consistent use of colors and typography while iOS development adheres to the Human Interface Guidelines, focusing on clarity, depth, and deference.
App Development and Monetization
Monetization is an important factor in application development and while considering monetization options, it's important to understand the differences between the Android and iOS app markets. Android development offers various avenues for monetization, including advertisements, in-app purchases, and subscriptions. The Google Play Store has a more relaxed review process, allowing developers to quickly update and launch an app. iOS development also offers various monetization avenues, in app advertisement and paid apps and subscriptions are some of them. Moreover, iOS development is costly and developers if create good apps with high usability, they can benefit handsomely.
Apart from above mentioned differences and benefits, a crucial aspect to consider is the market penetration of each platform before you decide on which way you want to go. Android holds a significant advantage in terms of market share. With its open-source nature, Android is widely adopted across various device manufacturers, accounting for a substantial portion of the global market. iOS, on the other hand, is exclusive to Apple devices and holds a smaller market share but is known for attracting a more affluent user base.
With the rise of cross platform and multiplatform development with new frameworks such as Flutter and React Native, Android and iOS development has become quite simple and flexible. You can use a single codebase to develop both kinds of apps now, without many changes.
To conclude, android and iOS , both are prominent application development platforms offering intuitive design, user friendly interface and high performance. Developers can choose any of these platforms to work on keeping in mind development environment, demand and market share, design guidelines, fragmentation and consistency as well as monetization. Globally, android is used on more devices than iOS but iOS market is quite mainstream in developed countries such as USA and UK etc. while android is more popular in developing countries.