Amazon.com's Kindle Fire tablet and Microsoft's efforts to get back into the mobile game have impressed developers, a survey released on Monday showed, while BlackBerry maker Research In Motion fell further behind.
Mobile software developers remain enamored with Apple's iPhone and iPad and, to a lesser extent, devices using Google's Android software, according to the survey from researcher IDC and Appcelerator, a company that works with app developers.
But in the second-tier, Microsoft's partnership with Nokia helped it break ahead of BlackBerry maker RIM.
"Amazon and Microsoft are the two big movers as we head into 2012," Appcelerator's head of marketing Scott Schwarzhoff said in an interview. "RIM continues to face challenges, especially on the PlayBook," its tablet which has sold poorly.
Amazon's Fire uses a variation of Android, but developers were most interested in its low cost and rich content library.
"It has all the trappings of the next big thing," Mr. Schwarzhoff said, pointing out that interest in the tablet, which is due to ship on Tuesday, is only slightly lower than the pre-launch interest in Apple's iPad.
Developers reporting they are "very interested" in RIM's operating system for its BlackBerry smartphones dropped 7 percentage points to 21 per cent and its QNX-based PlayBook tablet dropped 6 points to 13 per cent.
By contrast, Microsoft added 8 points to 38 per cent.
That is, the survey showed more developer interest in Nokia's new Lumia Windows Phone lineup than RIM's smartphones.
The dismal reading for RIM was blamed on lack of clarity on future direction, despite the Canadian company in October setting out a unified platform for future tablets and phones.
"Time is not really on RIM's side right now, certainly that is the perception," Mr. Schwarzhoff said.
The number of respondents who said they were very interested in developing for the iPhone and iPad was constant at 91 and 88 per cent, respectively. Android for phones dipped slightly to 83 per cent and Android tablets slipped to 68 per cent.
The survey of 2,160 developers was conducted on November 2-3. Click here for the full report.