Android Can No Longer Be Ignored, And The Crunchies Prove It

While sitting at the Crunchies last night something became quite apparent: almost all the big guys — even the ones who were stubborn about it — are currently available on Android.

And what do you know? They won at the Crunchies!

Interestingly enough former Google CEO Eric Schmidt made a bold comment about the future of Android apps just a month ago at LeWeb, stating that the platform would be preferred among developers in the next six months.

Ultimately, application vendors are driven by volume, and volume is favored by the open approach Google is taking. There are so many manufacturers working so hard to distribute Android phones globally. Whether you like ICS or not, and again I like it a great deal, you will want to develop for that platform, and perhaps even first. Think of it as a transition over the next 6 months.

To say that developers will launch on Android first is still a bit of a leap. Developers tend to prefer building for iOS (likely since iOS apps generate more revenue) and if we look at the most popular apps available today, almost all of them launched on iOS before Android.

Now, the Crunchies doesn’t necessarily determine the success or lack thereof at a company, but that’s not to say it isn’t a great indicator. I mean, it’s you guys, the users, who vote for the winners and who else to tell the tech world what works and what doesn’t.

A couple mobile apps that have made quite a splash are still holding out on Android: Instagram and Flipboard.

Update: This post originally discussed Square, but it is, in fact, already on Android. My apologies for that.

Flipboard and Instagram seem concerned with presenting a unified UI experience across platforms. Since both apps focus so much on the UI experience, a migration to Android would be difficult if both companies want to maintain their high-quality status in the UI department. I hate to say it, but let’s face it, Android apps are uglier than iOS apps.

The point is that these apps — exclusively available on the iOS platform — came in second in their respective categories. Meanwhile, apps like Google+ stole the crown from Instagram for best social app, and Evernote stole the top spot from Flipboard for best mobile app.

Google+ beating out Instagram speaks volumes, mainly because Instagram’s marketing strategy that integrates Facebook and Twitter is killer. Even though Google+ is a Google property, the search giant still saw fit to put the application on the iOS platform. Meanwhile, Instagram taunts Android users through Facebook and Twitter, showing off awesome pictures easily shared, and then offering nothing for them after a search through the Android Market.

Dropbox, which won best overall startup, was loved by many well before it hit Android. In fact, it launched on the iPhone in 2009 and didn’t make the transition over to Android until May of 2010. In January, just months before the Android app went live, Dropbox boasted over 4 million users coming off of a 2009 Crunchies win for best internet application. After a little over a year on the new platform, the company reported it had reached 25 million users. More users means more voters.

Evernote had around 2 million users at the time it launched an Android app, in December of 2009. By May 2010, the company had extended that to 3 million, then to 4 million in August, and jumped to 5 million users in November. By June 6 in 2011, the company boasted over 10 million users. Flipboard, runner up for the best mobile application category, still isn’t on the Android platform and reported 5 million+ users in December 2011. Granted, Evernote took a bullish approach entering the mobile space launching on as many platforms as possible, not just iOS and Android. But Flipboard did the exact opposite, and has forced people to either buy an Apple device or use Google Currents.

Just from the results of last night’s Crunchies awards, it’s clear that Eric Schmidt was right. With 700,000 activations daily, Android simply can’t be ignored any longer.