Developers are keeping a close eye on how new trends in social media and cloud computing could affect their applications, according to a new survey of Appcelerator’s developer base conducted with International Data Corporation (IDC).
The study of Appcelerator’s more than 2,000 developers found that recent developments in the mobile content space were more concerning to the applications community than rumored tablet launches and patent issues.
One-quarter of those surveyed listed Google+ as having the most effect on mobile growth and adoption, and 22 percent listed Apple’s iCloud service – even though those services are not fully available yet.
Another 18 percent of respondents said near-field communications (NFC) were top-of-mind, followed by iOS 5 Twitter integration, patent disputes over Android smartphones, rumors of an Android-based tablet from Amazon and the launch of the HP TouchPad.
Scott Schwarzhoff, who heads marketing at Appcelerator, said the survey results showed that developers were sensitive to how changes in the social media landscape and cloud computing could influence app adoption, versus the launch of new devices.
“It wasn’t about the Amazon Android tablet rumors, it wasn’t about the HP TouchPad, it was around what Google+ means to mobile and what Apple iCloud means to mobile,” he says.
Schrwarzhoff says developers are using social media and cloud computing to drive usage of their apps and make them more relevant to consumers.
“There is this desire to sort of redefine what you’re thinking of as the application experience, moving beyond a monolithic piece of content toward applications that increase utility, engagement, the stickiness factor,” Schrwarzhoff says.
Two-thirds of respondents expected Google+ to catch up with Facebook, citing Google’s formidable online assets such as its search engine, YouTube and maps. Developers also liked Google+ circles, sparks and hangouts features, which allow users to compartmentalize their social groups, conduct video chats and share content. Google+ is currently in a limited release and has not yet opened its API to developers.
“If you look at things like Google+ circles, they align very well to mobile,” Schwarzhoff says. “You can imagine this sort of alignment at the application layer with the way Google+ is architected at the group level.”
That’s not to say Facebook has lost its dominance. About 83 percent of developers in the survey already use or plan to use Facebook in their apps this year, followed by Twitter at 73 percent, Google+ at 72 percent once its API is released, LinkedIn at 30 percent and Foursquare at 23 percent.
Developers ranked notifications as the most important social capability to have in their apps, with status updates, log-in/identity credentials and messaging coming close behind.
The survey showed competition in the cloud computing space is likely to be tight over the next year. Developers who currently use cloud services or plan to use them in the next year ranked Amazon and Apple’s iCloud as the top players in the industry at 51 percent and 50 percent, respectively. Apple’s iCloud is currently in a limited beta release and is expected to go fully live this fall in conjunction with iOS 5.
Interest in the various mobile operating systems and devices varied little from Appcelerator’s last report. The iPhone remained at the top, with 91 percent of respondents saying they were “very interested” in developing for the devices. The iPad came in second with 88 percent and interest in Android devices rose 2 percentage points to 87 percent.