Android is eating the world!
It should be a well known fact to everyone that most smartphones in the world run Android. Estimates vary by who you ask, but IDC has Android at 78% of worldwide.
The US is much more contested. In February, comtech had 47.7% Apple and 47.6% Android, the first time Apple has been ahead since 2012. Now, Comscore has Android ahead at 52.6% to 41.8%. Regardless … Android represents a lot of users in the US.
US Smartphone Market Share (source)
So why do so many funded startups and public companies refuse to build android apps?
This became painfully apparent for me while managing my own money.
Weahthfront is an automated brokerage and financial management service. You give them some money, they will use a bunch of algorithms to create a tax optimized balanced portfolio for you. They have $2.4 billion in management and $129.5M in funding after 3 years of existence.
Yet … no money to invest in an Android app.
Learnvest is a budget and expense tracking system. Like Mint.com, except you can have a real CFP work with you to build you’re budget, plan for retirement, and even help you pick a brokerage and get your will together. After 5 years and $69M in funding, they were just acquired by Northwest Mutual.
Love them … but still no Android app after 5 years. WTF.
Robinhood has made a lot of noise offering completely free stock trading. $69M in funding over 2 years and still in the early stages, but someone to watch.
Mobile first, but no android app. Although, they are seriously working on it.
These is just a select few, but there are companies 10x bigger and publically traded who still are slow to build or support an Android app.
Before you say it to yourself, I will say it for you: there are a lot of reasons why you don’t want to build an Android app
- iOS users still monetize better and spend more money on their phones
- iOS users are slightly younger and more affluent
- Android is harder to support because of fragmentation
This means that there are some companies who don’t need to rush to Android. If you are focused on affluent youth, maybe it’s not a rush for the first version. Are purchases on the phone key to your business model, maybe waiting isn’t too bad. Fragmentation is no longer an excuse, period.
But the aforementioned companies don’t fit the criteria.
The companies I’ve called out want as many users as possible. They want you to sign up, user their service, and don’t need a single purchase to occur on the phone. Their apps are companions / replacements for their websites and a source of new users. Personally, I started using Learnvest because I read an article on my phone and downloaded the app. How many new Android only users have been lost?
I’ve even actively searched for competitors who would support me. My mint.com and Betterment accounts were both because of their Android support. I know I’m not alone.
Adding insult to injury is the relative simplicity needed for the aforementioned companie’s apps. I’ve worked on several different apps, from Facebook’s main app to games to a fitness tracker. An app to display account information is not rocket science. Hire someone to do it or give one java trained engineer a little alone time and you will suddenly have provided access to at least 40% of America’s smartphone users and more than 75% of the worlds users.
Hell … I’d even feel good if they threw a mobile friendly website into a basic wrapper until they see the light.
I write this post to humbly ask … please support Android. Myself and the majority of the the world’s smartphone users would appreciate it!
– Damien Peters