Marco Arment, the host of the podcast Build & Analyze, had this to say regarding converting his popular iPhone app to an Android app:

By the way, it's not like I hate Android.  I just don't think there's much business for me there. And again, I don't think there's zero business, I just don't think there's enough to make it worth the investment I have to put into developing and maintaining that . . .  I just look at the realities of the market, and the realities of the market - and my time - are that I barely have enough time to manage the apps on the platform I support now . . . I have to focus on the platforms I have time to focus on.  I can't add a whole bunch of them.

This pretty much mirrored my own thoughts on the subject.  From the day my iPhone app was approved in iTunes I've received requests to make it available on other platforms.  First it was BlackBerry and Palm, but the overwhelming request nowadays is for Android.  And, I fear the next Windows Phone 8 will be the next big thing.

I feel bad that I don't have an Android app. I really do.  I know it's become a very popular platform.  I'm not neglecting it because I'm playing sides.  I haven't made it because I'm already stretched so thin.

Marco suggested it would take him months to create an Android app, all while ignoring the upkeep on his Web site and iPhone apps.  Marco is a full time developer.  I, on the other hand, am a full time optometrist.  I think it would take me at least a year to create an Android app, probably more.  Why do I think that?  Well, the iPhone app took about 18 months from the day I bought a book on iPhone programming to the day I "shipped" my product.  Although I'm really proud of it, it was by far the toughest programming task I've undertaken.  

Since then I've had a couple children, still work full time (well, I've cut back a little), and still have a website and an iPhone app that I work on nearly every night. I just don't have any time left.

The other consideration is the financial aspects.  As I said, Marco Arment makes his living as a developer.  My income comes from looking at eyeballs.  I've managed to make EyeDock profitable enough to justify to my wife why, when my children get down to sleep in the evenings, I plug away at my computer instead of watching Dancing with the Stars like everyone else.  

However, the biggest reason I design websites and program is because I enjoy it.  I enjoy creating things, I enjoy making something that's useful, and, I'll admit it, I enjoy the positive feedback I get.  I have no idea how many people subscribed to my site because of my iPhone app.  I'm sure some did, but I've always thought of the app as a supplement to my EyeDock.  Perhaps I'm way off base on that - if I created an Android app maybe I'd double my subscribership and it would be well worth it.  That's an unknowable thing, unfortunately.

Even if I could justify it financially, there's still the issue of time.  I've often thought about farming out the development of an Android app to a professional.  However, my experiences with having outsiders do my coding has been less than desirable.  I feel like I've made good things because I'm an optometrist and I know exactly how I need things to work when I'm seeing patients.  An outsider just doesn't understand at the same level.  I can't justify investing my limited resources in something that I'm not confident is going to be made to my satisfaction.

I sincerely do apologize for my lack of an Android app.  I have nothing against the platform.  It's just that the iPhone came first, and I can currently only support one.  This will change if EyeDock grows to the point that I can dedicate more time and resources to it.  Believe me, nobody wants that more than I do.

AuthorTodd Zarwell