Kindle Fire Runs Nearly Neck-And-Neck With Galaxy Tab in Developer Interest

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By Kim-Mai Cutler Comment

The lackluster performance of many Android tablets so far, plus the low price point for Amazon’s Kindle Fire is making it a device of choice for developers on Google’s open-source mobile platform, according to a survey of more than 2,000 developers by Appcelerator and IDG.

The Kindle Fire, which just shipped today at a retail price of $199, is the second most attractive tablet behind Samsung’s Galaxy Tab to Android developers globally, according to the survey by Appcelerator, which provides tools for developers to build native apps across multiple platforms. If you break out the North American market, the Fire actually beats the Galaxy Tab by a narrow margin.

Surprisingly, it isn’t Amazon’s prowess in e-commerce that makes the Kindle Fire attractive. It’s actually the Fire’s lower price point at $199 (relative to the iPad’s starting price of $499.) Thirty-eight percent of developers who said they were interested in building for the Kindle Fire said it was because of the device’s price, compared to the 8 percent of developers who said they were interested because of Amazon’s eCommerce integration. Previous Android tablets by other device makers have actually come in at higher price points than Apple’s iPad because the hardware manufacturers weren’t able to lock in cheaper supplier contracts. Samsung’s 10-inch Galaxy Tab was able to match the iPad’s starting price point.

In terms of overall platform interest, Apple’s iOS unsurprisingly rules the roost with 91 percent and 88 percent of developers surveyed saying they were interested in building for the iPhone and iPad respectively. Android phones now comes in closely behind both devices with 83 percent of developers expressing interest. Android tablets fall a little farther behind without the right kind of momentum behind sales.

HTML5 mobile web apps still beat out building native apps for other platforms like Blackberry and Windows Phone. With Nokia’s contract to build for Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform, the company has moved ahead of Research in Motion in terms of attracting developers. Only 21 percent of developers say they were interested in building for Blackberry Phones and just 13 percent say they’re interested in building for the Playbook. Windows Phone 7, in contract, attracts a little over-third of the developers surveyed at 38 percent.

The Nokia deal is an important reason for European and Asian developer interest as the Finnish handset maker has strong distribution channels throughout Europe and many developing countries, according to the survey. In contrast, the most important reason North American developers are interested in Windows Phone 7 is that they are actually looking forward to an update with Windows Phone 8.