Dear programmers, as part of my final year university project, I am conducting research into what makes programmers prefer to program for Android as opposed to other mobile operating systems. The description does not need to be detailed however, I am trying to find patterns between programmers to determine what properties (other than money) a software company such as Android must have in order to attract programmers and therefore grow.

  • 2
    Mandatory read: paulgraham.com/apple.html
    – user8685
    Feb 25, 2011 at 12:27
  • Do you want to know "why android" or why mobile in general?
    – Marcie
    Feb 25, 2011 at 17:04

8 Answers 8


I like Android because

  • It is using Java and I am a Java developer, so I found it easy to code apps in Android.
  • It is easy to learn. It is using XML for GUI. When I design a screen in XML, I feel, I've total control over it pixel-by-pixel.
  • It is Open source. You can browse through its source code any time you wish to know whats going on.
  • Supported by vast community and users.

Because Android is shiny and new and most programmers like shiny and new things!

  • fair enough..however so is the I phone, yet im sure there are programmers who prefer not to program for the I phone IOS but the Android os insted?
    – user18391
    Feb 25, 2011 at 10:20
  • 1
    @Hasnan Karim - I guess other reasons that programmers (some) prefer Android to IPhone OS could range from a dislike of Apple to the fact developing for Android is free (unlike IPhone, I think you need a licence or something to make your apps available in the Apple store). This is not a full list of reasons but the first two that come to mind for me (BTW I am not saying I like or dislike Apple!)
    – user18041
    Feb 25, 2011 at 10:22
  • 2
    @Digger: Publishing to Android Market is also not free. You need to register there, and this has some registration fee.
    – Mudassir
    Feb 25, 2011 at 10:42
  • @Mudassir - oh right, I thought it was free. Oh well, thats not a good reason then. I would guess its cheaper than the fee Apple charge?
    – user18041
    Feb 25, 2011 at 10:44
  • yes its cheaper compared to apple...i belive its something like £25 for a 1 of payment
    – user18391
    Feb 25, 2011 at 10:47

I think that Android is an attractive proposition because I believe that it will become the dominant mobile/tablet stack within the next few years. This is far from a definite but the way that Android has taken market share in a short time would suggest this is possible (cerainly Nokia seems very concerned about what Android has done). Developers want to program on a platform that will be exposed to as many end users as possible and Android is a significant player.

Helpful Links:

Gartner Research on Mobile OS market share

FT Report on Stephen Elop, inluding Nokia chief executive's remarks about Android

  1. It's accessible. Everything you need to develop and publish android apps is freely available, and the support of a big company behind it.

  2. It has a large/growing market share...if i ever do make something useful, it can be used by a lot of people.


My reasons:

  • Lots of phones / phone vendors to choose from - I might find one I like
  • Cost of phones is lower than other platforms
  • IDE and SDK are free
  • Can develop using an ordinary PC (Apple H/W is expensive)
  • Platform is open - not only is this a good thing in itself, it encourages openness in the community
  • Java is familiar
  • Large and growing market
  • Platform is being actively developed
  • Large community of other developers

Too much competition in IOS market.


a software company such as Android

Didn't know that android was a software company - as far as I remember, it's the name of an operating system for smartphones and tablets...

The android system, attracts programmers, because it is free to use, easy to learn and it's fairly easy to distribute your applications.

Companies are attracted by the android system because it'S a fairly easy way to get their product and logo on peoples mobile phones.

But the question was "what a company needs to attract programmers". Having a big, well know product in their portfolio is an asset. I'd be attracted by the chance to work on a product that is used by millions of people ("Hey, I'm one of the guys that made facebook/google/youtube!"). I think "visibility" of your own contribution is quite attractive for programmers (and the android market store offers visibility).

And I'd be attracted by a company that is known for great working conditions and agile processes. But both have to grow and can't be advertised by a startup.


I think the ties to Google play at least some factor into the choice of Android as well. Google is a big name in the software industry and (arguably) has far fewer negative views and backlash associated to it than other players such as Apple and Microsoft.

This along with the general openness the platform has lead it to appealing a lot to developers who like to "play with shiny new things", especially in their off-time or as a hobby. There's low/no cost to getting started with the system.