Developers: the best smart phone platform is?

I was talking with Loic Le Meur, CEO and founder of Seesmic, the other night and he was saying that he’s running his business by looking at the numbers, not listening to the hype. He told me that the iPhone isn’t the only platform out there, although he admitted that it gets 95% of the hype (er, discussion in community) because nearly every influencer has an iPhone and knows that it’s the best one out there. Even the hot new “Droid” phone doesn’t quite measure up in reviews.

He says that he’s forcing himself to use a Blackberry, for instance, even though he likes the iPhone better, because the numbers are telling him that Blackberry is a very important platform to develop for. He’s a businessman and he isn’t in business just for love.

The other night I met Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora. He gave me some off-the-top-of-his-head numbers that I’m trying to verify, but they give you some sense of where he’s seeing his business come from.

Pandora is an awesome case study, because many of my favorite VIPs have Pandora on their phone — it’s an awesome app. It’s on iPhone’s top downloaded list (near the top). It also is one of the few popular apps that’s available on almost every platform.

How popular is it? Well, he says it’s getting downloaded:

20,000 times a day on iPhone.
16-17,000 times a day on Blackberry.
8,000 times a day on Android.

He says on Windows Mobile and other phones it’s getting downloaded far less often than that. Westergren told me if he were starting development today he’d build for the above three platforms and is seeing more growth in Android than the others, so he’d bias to iPhone and Android, if he had to make a choice of only two platforms to develop on. This is also what I’m hearing from many other developers.

How about you?

By the way, I’ve started a Twitter list of iPhone app developers and companies. I don’t yet have one for Android or Blackberry, which I should do soon based on these numbers (unlike Loic I do it for love, not for money), but according to Listorious there are plenty of lists of all mobile phone platform developers and companies starting up.