Another developer case study shows easier development, better performance on WP7 than Android

Nilsen’s Flag quiz app

There are numerous reasons developers may want to choose creating apps for Windows Phone 7 rather than for Android, but it is likely developers will only really believe those reasons from a fellow developer and real data rather than enthusiasts like ourselves.

I have just stumbled across a case study by Frode Nilsen on his own experience on developing for both platforms.  The article starts in January 2011 and ends with an update in July 2011.

In his January post he compares the process of developing for Android and Windows phone 7 and found he developed his Windows Phone 7 app much faster than his identical Android app ( 18 hours vs 35h 30 min) and even at that early stage earnings were better on Windows Phone 7 than Android, he felt in part due to the lesser competition there:

  Android WP7
Trial N/A 125
Full version 15 36

His score card for each platform then rated them as such:

Aspect Android   WP7
IDEs 4 6
APIs 4 5
Availability of documentation 6 5
Reporting functionality 5 4
Submission process 5 5
Perceived market potential 5 4
Total 29 29

Of course much of those elements would have improved  in favour of Windows phone 7 since, with expanded APIs in Windows Phone 7 Mango and better reporting in App Hub.

Nilsen was of course in the end seduced by what he perceived as the potentially larger Android market, saying in January:

I do believe it’s slightly more fun to work at the WP7 platform, but the differences are not that big. Not big enough to be decisive alone. … Then there is the user base, which I talked about in the introduction. The user base for Android is still quite much bigger than for Windows Phone, and that is the factor that makes me pretty sure that my next project will be on an Android device.

He returned to report back on the progress of his apps in July 2011, after adding an ad-supported version of his app on the Android market, presumably to chase that elusive “much bigger market”.

His final results are below:

  Downloads Earnings
Android, Free (Ads) 356   $1.75
Android, Paid ($1) 50 $43.11
WP7, Paid ($1) 75 $52.50

He still had the hope to monetize his ad-driven Android downloads with in-app purchasing, but to me the conclusion is clear, and supports the recent study by Research2Guidance which shows apps on smaller platforms get a larger number of downloads on average.  While the chances of a massive breakout hit which means you can quit your day job is much, much less, for the average app by the average developer, chances are in fact better on Windows Phone 7 than Android.