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(Reuters) –
Mobile software developers remain fixated on Apple and on Google’s
Android as the prime targets of their toil, but Microsoft and Research
In Motion are making inroads as tablet offerings multiply.

The iPhone, which boasts more
than 300,000 third-party applications, or apps, retains the attention of
92 percent of developers, according to a survey released on Tuesday by
research firm IDC and app platform Appcelerator.

The survey of more than 2,200 developers found many expect to produce more apps for more platforms with more complexity.

"Cloud
connectivity, location and social will define the experiences of most
applications this year and going forward," said Appcelerator’s Scott
Schwarzhoff in an interview.

"Respondents said ‘last year I was kicking the tires, this year I really am ramping up my efforts’," he added.

Developer
intent is a useful indicator of broader interest in a platform, as
consumers are drawn to devices that can perform specific tasks such as
checking news or stock prices, tracking how far you’ve run or finding
nearby restaurants.

Apple’s iPad
tablet and Android phones — which are made by a number of handset
makers including HTC, Samsung and Motorola Mobility — tied for the next
biggest share of developer attention, with 87 percent saying they are
very interested in each platform.

Android
tablets such as Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Motorola’s Xoom, which flooded
an electronics trade show this month, round out the top tier with
interest from 74 percent of developers, up from 62 percent in September.

SECOND-TIER

RIM’s
BlackBerry smartphone platform and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, which
launched in October, grew cache in a second tier well below Apple and
Android but drawing away from Nokia’s Symbian and its planned MeeGo
offering, which lagged at less than 20 percent interest.

But
the sharpest rise in interest was directed at RIM’s PlayBook, which the
Canadian company has touted heavily to developers since announcing its
existence in September. It is expected to launch in March.

"Quite frankly, three months ago we thought this thing (PlayBook) was never going to take off," Schwarzhoff said.

A
lot of businesses "know BlackBerry, know RIM and have standardized on
it and are saying we need an enterprise-grade tablet and if RIM’s coming
out with one we have to take a serious look," he said.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents said they were looking at the PlayBook, compared to 16 percent in September.

In
contrast to the rising interest in tablets, the developers surveyed
shunned connected televisions, with interest in both Google TV and Apple
TV declining sharply.

About 40 percent of respondents were from either North America or Europe with the remaining 18 percent from elsewhere.

The full survey results can be found here: here

(Editing by Gary Hill)