Google Android Marketplace vs. Apple App Store – Latest Report

Distimo has released their latest report on the state of mobile app stores. There are some very interesting figures released, particularly relating to Google’s Android Marketplace.

Comparison of app stores by Distimo
Distimo App Store Report – March 2011

The report (download pdf) encompasses all the most popular app stores, including Google’s Android Marketplace, Apple’s App Store, and GetJar. This month’s publication begins with an especially noteworthy statement:

The Google Android Market eclipsed the Apple App Store for iPhone in terms of free applications and now has 134,342 free applications, while the Apple App StoreiPhone has 121,845 free applications.

Yes, that’s right – Android now has more free applications available than any iOS device, including the iPhone. This is testimony to the number of Android developers opting for the “freemium” or “ad-supported” business models. Apple’s platform still has many more paid apps, which also reflects the (real or perceived) quality gap between the two platforms.

These latest figures are significant for Android developers, for a number of reasons:

  • Platform parity
    We are fast approaching an environment where Android and iOS have an equal or comparable number of apps. This means consumers are more likely to choose Android devices, driving up sales numbers
  • Changing Business Models
    With so many free applications on the Android Market, it’s clear that consumers are becoming more accustomed to free (potentially ad-supported) apps. As developers, this creates a bigger challenge if we want to sell apps to generate revenue. Learn about integrated design and management for your business to run better.
  • Mobile Duopoly
    The chart above makes it quite evident that there are two app stores which together dominate the vast majority of the mobile market – Google Android and Apple iOS. While BlackBerry and Nokia both have stores (as well as the independent GetJar), the developer interest and sheer number of apps available from these smaller stores are no competition. This, again, will encourage more developers to consider the Android platform, as it is evidently the most viable business expansion beyond Apple’s platform.

Another significant finding from this report concerns the projected growth of the Android Marketplace. According to the Distimo report, Google’s Android Marketplace will have matched the number of apps available for the iPhone before the end of July 2011.

Chart showing projected growth for app stores
Projected growth of app stores

Android growth continues to exceed predictions on nearly all accounts, so there’s little reason to doubt Distimo’s projections in this case. While an increase in the number of Android Apps available means more competition for developers, it also indicates an increased adoption of the platform as a whole – meaning more consumers, and more potential users of your app. Ultimately, the increasing popularity of Android can only be a good thing for developers. Just keep the bar high, publish a good quality app with a pleasing user interface, and the potential for growth increases every day.