Flurry Analytics has recently compiled developer research data from January to March, and found that 7 of 10 apps developed are on iOS, and that for ever dollar an iOS developer makes, Android developers make $0.24. It won't come as much surprise that the iPad fares particularly well among tablets. 88% of user sessions that ping Flurry's advertising network from a tablet are using an iPad, compared to 9% from a Galaxy Tab users and 3% from a Kindle Fire. Flurry said that "Apple offers the most compelling 'build once, run anywhere' value proposition in the market today" when it came to developing for iPhone and iPad. There are plenty of middleware providers that can bring apps from iOS to Android and other secondary ecosystems, but looking at graphs like this make it clear that devs hardly need to bother to stay in business. Flurry also took the opportunity to knock Android fragmentation across OS versions and manufacturers.
One of the big problems with the Android app ecosystem is piracy; say what you will about Apple's crystal prison, it ensures devs make the money that's due to them. Sure, sometimes copycats slip through the App Store approval process, but Android's ability to sideload apps from just about anywhere means that even moderately tech-savvy users have little reason to open their wallets. For all of the restrictions Apple places on developers, they're definitely hoops worth jumping through if it enables them to make viable businesses out of apps. A few weeks ago, one developer told me that they still make more money on BlackBerry and webOS than Android - if that's even remotely the case for other devs, I can't help but wonder how healthy the Google Play store will be in the long term.
Devs, what can you say about your experience writing apps for Android? Is it really that unprofitable? Is making money the end-all-be-all of app development, or is there value in added freedom?