Survey: Developers believe mobile-first startup could topple Facebook


Two-thirds of mobile developers believe a mobile-first social startup could disrupt Facebook's (NASDAQ:FB) dominance over the social networking segment, according to a new survey conducted by Appcelerator and research firm IDC.

Sixty-six percent of developers surveyed state it is "likely to very likely" that a mobile-first social startup will upend the market for social-themed applications on mobile devices, stealing market share from Facebook in the process. Facebook has struggled to translate its social networking platform to mobile devices, and earlier this month, co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted "We've had a bunch of missteps on [mobile]. The biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML5 instead of native... We burnt two years."

Facebook Developers

Source: Appcelerator/IDC

Many companies still underestimate mobile's capacity for disrupting the marketplace, IDC contends. "Mobile has the power to reshape entire industries quickly," said IDC Vice President of Clients, Displays and Mobile Devices Bob O'Donnell. "Staying competitive isn't simply a matter of porting elements of an existing business model to mobile; rather, it requires re-envisioning traditional business models through a mobile lens."

Developers also share Zuckerberg's disenchantment with HTML5: Those surveyed by Appcelerator and IDC express neutral feelings or dissatisfaction toward nearly every facet of the HTML5 platform, including user experience, performance, monetization, fragmentation, distribution control, timeliness of new updates and security issues. Developers report the highest satisfaction with HTML5's cross-platform development possibilities and timelines of updates.

Developers remain bullish on Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS: Eighty-five percent of respondents are very interested in building apps for the iPhone and 83 percent express comparable enthusiasm for creating iPad apps. Developer interest in Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android has slipped since Appcelerator and IDC's second quarter survey, with 76 percent saying they are very interested in building Android smartphone apps and slightly less than 66 percent indicating strong interest in Android tablet apps.

Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry continues to lose developer mindshare: Just 9 percent of respondents said they are very interested in writing BlackBerry apps, an all-time low. Forty percent of developers expressed strong interest in BlackBerry as recently as the first quarter of 2011, underlining the platform's fall from grace.

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