Consumer choice has never been more plentiful than it is today. We’re so far removed from the era of the Model T-Ford, it’s amazing to look back and think that there was a time of only one choice. This unprecedented era of choice has far reaching implications and one of the areas heavily affected is mobile software development. Smartphones, tablets and mobile operating systems are ubiquitous and inescapable now, for better or worse. That means that mobile software development has to address multiple platforms in order to reach a significant user base.
About a decade ago, software developers really only had to develop for Windows and OS X. Several years before that, they only had to develop for Windows. Now the software user base is spread out among, Windows, OS X, iOS, Windows Mobile, Android, Blackberry OS, Linux, Orbis OS and many, many others too numerous to list. Some people utilize one of these platforms or many of them. This is the reason why a mobile development team has become such an important part of software development and why multi-platform software is so important. Whereas Windows market share was over 90% decades ago, market share is now spread out among multiple different platforms. In order to make software accessible, it needs to be accessible to multiple platforms.
According to Neilson’s Digital Consumer Report, the average American owns four digital devices and spends an average of 34 hours per month on their smartphone (they only spend 27 hours a month on their PC’s). Those new trends indicate a large need for multi-platform friendly software and illustrate just how important mobile software development is. Those facts actually indicate that mobile software development is actually more important than PC software development, if you base it on how much people use those devices. An Ipsos Reid study from 2014 revealed that 39% of Canadians that did online shopping did it on a mobile device. And from 2013, an IDC research report indicated that 49% of the entire U.S. population uses a smartphone and that number is expected to increase 68% by 2017. Does that mean we can expect PC usage to go down with the rise of smartphone usage? If that’s the case, then it looks like mobile software development is poised to become even more important that we originally thought.
The future of software development clearly seems to point the direction to mobile, but with all the platform options out there, multi-platform development is certainly part of that future.