Once upon a time, figuring out which personal computer platform to develop your program or website for was easy. In these tech good ‘ole days known as the mid-90s, DOS and – later – Windows accounted for well over 90% of both the home and office computer markets. Old Taskmaster remembers the days when the overwhelming majority of computer users knew the frustration of an error message that said “illegal operation”. Bill Gates racked up a number of anti-trust lawsuits trying to keep it that way. Any company standing in the way of this tech juggernaut – from Borland and Word Perfect to Netscape and very nearly Apple – were driven out of town like the evildoer in a spaghetti western. Back then, the rules were simple: Develop it for Windows. If it particularly appealed to graphic designers in black skivvies and berets, consider porting it to the Mac. If you were a blind open source ideologue, you might also port it to Linux and boast about it on Slashdot (after all, 1999 was the year of Linux on the desktop – or was that 2009?). But nowadays, things are a little more confusing. There are smartphones, tablets, PCs, laptops and other web devices to consider. Even if you just have a website, you still have to consider which devices and browsers to optimise for. (And before you say “it should work perfectly on everything”, you probably won’t test your site on Contiki for the Commodore 64, or the Telecom Computerphone, now will you?!) If you’re developing for Australian consumers, which of the big three – Android, iOS or Windows – should you focus on? Old Taskmaster has some food for thought: Smartphones If you want to develop a smartphone app it has to work on Android. Period. According to Kantar WorldPanel, Android now accounts for 69.4% of all Australian smartphones and 69.6% of the world market. In comparison, iPhones make up 28.1% of the market in Australia and 18.4% worldwide. In other words, if you have a mobile app that doesn’t run on Android or a mobile site that doesn’t quite look right on a Samsung Galaxy S4, you’ve just lost three-quarters of the market. Tablets The Australian tablet market grew 147% year on year, with Aussies now buying 1.14 million of the things each quarter. But as sales of tablets have gone up, Apple’s marketshare has gone down. One year ago, the iPad made up 80% of the Aussie market, while today it’s just 56%. Meanwhile in the same time Android has grown from 18% to 36%. Meanwhile, despite all the hype from Microsoft, they only claim 8% of the market. Desktops While desktop computer sales fell a massive 21% year-on-year during the first quarter of 2013, they still remain an important platform. Here, Windows still runs the show. HP controls 19% of the market, followed by Dell (15%), Lenovo (11%), and Toshiba (9%), with no-name computer shops down the road making up the other 28%. In contrast, Apple has 18%. Still confused? By the numbers, Old Taskmaster says it’s really simple. Find out which sort of device your customers prefer to use the most, and prioritise your apps and websites accordingly. If you want your app or website on smartphones, it has to be built for Android. If you want it primarily on tablets, it’s Apple first and Android second. If you want desktop computers, it’s still Windows, with Apple a distant second. So knowing the figures, are you developing for the right platforms? If not, it’s time to get your priorities right! Get it done – today!
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