Google Chairman Eric Schmidt has said he believes mobile developers will prioritize the Android platform over Apple's iOS in the next six months, as the market shifts away from iPhone-centric development.
Schmidt made the comments in Paris, at the LeWeb conference, on Wednesday, according to CNet. He said he believes the high volume of Android shipments, which has given Google the largest share of worldwide smartphone sales, will win over developers.
"Ultimately, application vendors are driven by volume, and volume is favored by the open approach Google is taking," Schmidt said. "There are so many manufacturers working to deliver Android phones globally. Whether you like Android or not, you will support that platform, and maybe you'll even deliver it first."
After one audience member complained that mobile applications frequently appear on Apple's iOS App Store first, Schmidt then went on to predict that six months from now the roles will be reversed. He said he believes Android 4.0, known by its code name Ice Cream Sandwich, will put Android in the leadership position for application developers.
While Android may be leading in current activations, one category where it lags behind Apple is developer revenue. One study publicized last month estimated that Apple's iOS platform takes in about 90 percent of all dollars spent on mobile devices, while Google's Android market has generated about 7 percent of the gross revenue of the iOS App Store.
Earlier this year, Canalys estimated that mobile application stores will top $14 billion in direct revenue in 2012. While the volume of applications downloaded on Android is expected to surpass the iOS App Store, iOS is expected to generate $2.86 billion in application revenue by 2016, compared to just $1.5 billion on Android.
Schmidt also revealed on Wednesday that about 200 million Android phones have been activated to date, and 550,000 new devices are activated daily. In comparison, Apple executives revealed in October that sales of iOS devices, which include the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, surpassed a quarter of a billion last quarter.
Schmidt also reportedly declined to comment on whether Google's Android has copied iOS features. But he did state that "Android was founded before the iPhone was."
Development of Android began before Apple introduced the iPhone, when the mobile operating system was seen as a challenger to the then-market-leading Research in Motion BlackBerry lineup. But changes to Android, including the addition of a touch-centric interface, led Apple co-founder Steve Jobs to accuse Google of stealing from iOS. Jobs said to biographer Walter Isaacson that he would spend his "last dying breath" fighting Android, as he believed it was a "stolen product."