Developer Economics Q3 2013


Vision Mobile has results of a new developer survey including 6,000 respondents from 115 countries. The free report (registration required) also includes information on OS platform market shares and related insights.

For example…

"There are no profits to be made in handset production itself. In other words, hardware is dead. Instead, value has migrated to upwards in the technology stack (to services) and downwards (to handset components)."

This situation means that it’s very difficult, if not impossible, for OS newcommers to compete…

"Even Microsoft with an estimated over 5 billion dollars invested in Windows Phone has managed to secure a tiny 3% smartphones sales share in 2.5 years since the platform launched."


The developer survey is full of interesting insights and deeper numbers on the use of HTML in mobile development, developer mindshare and intentshare by mobile OS. There’s also analysis on platform choice vs what developers are trying to achive. There are also numbers on tablet development, revenue models and average revenue per month.

When I read reports such as this I often start wondering what constitutes a ‘developer’. For example, I am an ‘implementing’ developer but my clients might also consider themselves developers. While I don’t do development for intermediaries any more, there are also some types of client who themselves have clients, for example brands, who might also consider themselves as doing mobile development. Similarly, those people working inside companies have managers and end clients who might be seen as developing for mobile.

Vision mobile have sliced developers a different way and have split them into categories based on what they are trying to achieve…

  • Hunters
  • Explorers
  • Guns for hire
  • Hobbyists
  • Product extenders
  • Gold seekers
  • Enterprise
  • Digital content publishers
The report considers the repercussions of their respective motivations.