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Android edges Apple iPad as second-most-popular mobile development platform

Google's Android platform has narrowly overtaken the Apple iPad in terms of total developer support for mobile devices, though the iPhone remains the most popular software destination, according to a new report.

The new study, released Thursday by cross-platform mobile ad network Millennial Media and DigiDay, found that 30 percent of developers are currently creating content for the iPhone. In second is Android, with 23 percent, followed in third by the iPad with 21 percent.

Developers surveyed also indicated in the "State of the Apps Industry" report that they plan to support Android in 2011, with 29 percent saying Google's mobile operating system is the new platform they will embrace next year. Another 20 percent said they will expand to the iPad, and 20 percent also plan to write software for Windows Phone 7. A small percentage of developers — 8 percent — who are not currently writing for the iPhone will do so next year.

"We have seen significant cross-platform adoption in the past year and can expect to see continued growth and diversity in the coming year," said Mack McKelvey, senior vice president of marketing at Millennial Media.

Developers ranked the reach of a platform as their top consideration when choosing what they will develop for. Demographics were the second most important concern, followed by better branding, ease of use, and higher sales potential, respectively.

Publishers expect that applications will see significant growth in revenue in 2011. Of those surveyed, 31 percent said they believe they will see an increase of 100 percent or more in revenue next year, and another 34 percent expect their earnings to increase by at least 25 percent.

Last month, Millennial Media revealed that online ad revenue from the iPad grew 316 percent in the third quarter of 2010. In that same period, the total number of advertisers supporting Apple's touchscreen tablet increased by 94 percent.