That’s the findings of worldwide research on mobile development by Telerik, a subsidiary company of software vendor Progress, which found that 57% of developers around the world have never built a mobile app.
Progress cites ABS statistics indicating that only 47% of Australian businesses even have a web presence, let alone mobile capability, and that “there is still room for upskilling among developers before the niche development area reaches critical mass.”
Other insights cited as relevant to the Australian market include that:
• Despite the continued domination of Apple in the Australian market, mobile developers are most likely to develop for Android (76%), followed by iOS (63%) and a surprisingly high share developing for Windows Phone (40%)
• 47% of those who did develop mobile apps developed just one functional mobile app per year
• Reasons for developing mobile apps include; creating revenue opportunities (39%), increasing employee productivity (38%), improving customer service (35%), and engaging customers more meaningfully (34%).
The worldwide survey of more than 3,000 more than 3,000 developers (49%), CEOs/owners (14%), architects (14%), IT professionals (8%), CTOs (6%), found that though interest in using mobile apps among consumers and enterprises continues to grow, adoption of mobile application development is slower than expected.
According to feedback from respondents, 57% of developers are still brand new to mobile development or have never built a mobile app, 47% of developers surveyed develop, on average, just one functional mobile app per year, while some haven’t built any at all.
Mobile developers also expressed frustration over constraints and changing technology and development practices (16%), saying they struggle with a range of inhibitors, such as a lack of time (19%) to a lack of tools (15%) and budgetary constraints.
“The most poignant finding of the survey is that 57% of developers have never built a mobile app, indicating that mobile app development remains highly specialised,” said Karen Tegan Padir, President, Application Development and Deployment, Progress.
“It’s clear that the developer community as a whole needs easy-to-use tools and processes to move forward with their mobile app development efforts in a more substantial way.”
Padir said improved operational efficiency was cited most often as a key reason for building mobile apps, with other reasons including creating revenue opportunities (39%), increasing employee productivity (38%), improving customer service (35%) and engaging customers in a more meaningful way (34%).
Progress suggests that organisations would benefit from a flexible, multi-platform approach and says that while there are developer frustrations with a lack of available tools and ever-changing development practices, “most developers don’t have their hearts set on a particular approach for building mobile apps,” with hybrid the most preferred (33%), followed by native (25%) and web (19%).
According to Progress, new development challenges are on the horizon, with survey respondents reporting they were developing for a mix of platforms other than mobile, including web (87%), desktop (62%), IoT (22%) and wearables (6%).
Padir says that IoT trumps wearables, such as the Apple Watch, are the “next big thing” in app development.
In addition, smart appliances and virtual reality devices, such as the Oculus Rift, are expected to be more important by 35% and 21% of respondents, respectively, only 21% of those surveyed have definitive plans to build apps for wearables in 2015, and of the 21%, 45% will be developing apps for the Apple Watch.