Research: Number of Android Apps Will Pass Apple App Store in August

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Google’s Android Market has grown at twice the rate of Apple’s App Store in terms of the number of apps during April, according to research firm. The company released a report Thursday that projects that Android Marketplace will have more apps than the App Store as early as August of 2011.

The number of apps available was once a hot button issue as Apple’s App Store dwarfed all of the competing online app markets. Today, according to research2guidance, Apple still has the most apps, with 381,062 apps, while Google’s Android Market has grown to include 297,738 Apps.

As you can see in the chart below, however, Android’s rate of growth began to exceed the App Store’s rate of growth in late 2010 — research2guidance pins the time frame at October of 2010. In April, 28,000 new apps were added to the Android Marketplace, while Apple’s App Store added 11,000.

research2guidance chart

Source: research2guidance
(Click the chart for a larger version) 

“Given the same growth rates (number of apps) as in previous months,” the company wrote, “the Android Market will reach 425,000 apps in August surpassing the Apple App Store.”

The company also noted that the two companies, Google and Apple, are hands down the leaders in this category, and that both companies add more apps every month than any other platform has in total. In a word, “ouch.”

The total number of apps available is only one way to measure the health and success of an online app market. Total downloads matter, as do the percentage of those downloads that are paid vs. those that are free. Historically, Apple’s App Store customers have downloaded more apps per user and they have been willing to pay for far, far more of their apps than Android users, as well.

The report issued today didn’t address either issue, but research2guidance did say that Android developers have increased the number of paid apps uploaded to Android market to 40% in April, up from 36% historically.

Apple has always touted its larger collection of App Store apps as a benefit to users. If research2guidance’s projections end up to be accurate, it will be very interesting to see how Apple handles the situation. That is, if those projections are borne out.

Comments

GrahamExton

“has grew”?

Firebush

Android’s App market might pass Apple’s this year, but, as you pointed out (TMP - Apple to capture 76% of mobile app 2011), it’s not going to pass Apple in terms of revenues. So, the App Store remains the best application store for developers where to first launch a project, provided there are more chances of earning money. Targeting Android is interesting once you know your app is doing well. Else you might loose time and money.

So, even if the App Store is passed by Android in terms of quantity, it will still remain inescapable for a developer who is looking to earn a living with it. I guess most apps will first target iOS, so the App Store will be the place to get novelties.

Tiger

projecting growth in apps numbers is dubious at best. To borrow some criticisms of Apple’s own store, how many free fart apps does Android need?

Both outlets for their apps will reach (or have nearly reached) a saturation mark for the rapid expansion and finally equalize. Considering the balance with which both platforms have found with their hardware, the trend actually favors Apple in this case thanks to the apps that actually generate revenue.

greatgazoo192

Once again someone looks at a short duration (and low number) trend and forecasts indefinite exponential growth!  There is no such thing as indefinite exponential growth!  Exponential growth can only happen for a short period before multiple factors (i.e. finite resources, market saturation, limited consumer disposable income, etc.) combine to flatten out the growth curve.  In this case the initial growth rate is probably being fueled by developers porting over existing iOS apps to Android (so once all the iOS apps are ported over…..).

While I have no doubts that the Android app store will reach the same number of apps as the apple store (probably by the end of this year), the forecast that the number of apps in the Android app store will continue to grow at an exponential rate once parity with iOS is achieved is just not realistic.

Any forecast based on an assumption of indefinite exponential growth are designed to stimulate controversy and/or sell swamp land to “rubes”.

Forewarned is forearmed, if you’re ever in the same room with these analysts, keep your hand (preferably both hands) tightly wrapped around your wallet, or else you’ll be another example that P. T. Barnum was right!

sleepygeek

Not only is revenue a more important metric, Apple’s requirements that Apps should be non trivial is a huge difference. On Android, if you want to sell a desktop wallpaper, you embed it in an App, apparently. And the same app can be present multiple times with different names and descriptions.

Nevertheless, Android’s approach may well be good enough. There’s a huge number of people for whom a phone is just a phone, and they simply don’t care between one brand and another. They’re going to end up with the cheapest - Android.

Garion

Hey, that’s great news. Yesterday I earned one dollar, today I earned two dollars. A staggering 100% growth rate day to day!

In just 10 days I should be making 512 dollars per day, and by August I’ll pass Bill Gates as the richest man in the world!

My calculations are based on the same scientific methods used by research2guidance in the example above. Yup, the numbers don’t lie.

John Molloy

These figures subtract the iPad counts… If you add them in it will take quite a bit longer.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

On Android, if you want to sell a desktop wallpaper, you embed it in an App, apparently.

This is like watching blind peel feel the underside of an elephant and try to figure out what it is. No, that is not a boom mic.

amergin

On iOS a developer needs to write an app in Objective-C and then submit it to Apple for them to give it the OK. On Android a developer writes his app in Java and makes it available. There are a great many more Java Coders out there as Java is used widely in web development. There is a long game here, not one that will be decided be these trite surveys.

dhp

Number of apps has always been a stupid metric by which to evaluate a device or platform. That’s why it has always been rejected by Mac fans when used as a pro-Windows argument. I’ve almost completely stopped buying apps because (a) there is hardly anything new and useful that I find and (b) anything that might be new and useful is buried under thousands of uninteresting, useless, or redundant apps.

anonymous

The quality and selection of useful apps matters, especially on tablets where people are buying a user experience, not merely upgrading their cell phone. The number of tablet optimized apps for Android is still tiny compared to iOS. If this cannot be remedied fairly soon (which will be difficult due to fragmentation), Android could lose what little remaining cache it has as a credible alternative to iOS.

In other words, will Android be seen as an alternative to iPhone and iPad, or a cheap way to get an internet enabled feature phone?

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

The quality and selection of useful apps matters, especially on tablets where people are buying a user experience, not merely upgrading their cell phone. The number of tablet optimized apps for Android is still tiny compared to iOS. If this cannot be remedied fairly soon (which will be difficult due to fragmentation), Android could lose what little remaining cache it has as a credible alternative to iOS.

There are so many misconceptions in the above paragraph, it’s humourous. But what’s more humourous is the slapstick reasoning putting them together. Here is the typical Apple-fan reasoning on tablets, simplified and condensed:

1. Android does things different than iPad.

2. Therefore, Android isn’t like the iPad.

This is simply a tautology, but an important step here, as it makes the argument sound reasonable.

3. Therefore, tablets won’t be just like phones.

Everyone stretch and pat yourselves on the back, or join in a circle if you like.

—————

The fact is that there are many popular Android apps that “just run” nicely on tablets precisely because they previously dealt with the issue of varying screen sizes, and scaled up out of the box just fine. Example: K-9 Mail, the popular mail client replacement, runs wonderfully on on a ViewSonic ViewPad 7 or original 7” Samsung GalaxyTab, both of which run Android 2.2. It is a very functional experience, from checking email to reading email to composing email. It doesn’t “pixel double” or leave side margins of unused screen space. Another example: Angry Birds. More generic example: pretty much any app created with Flash Builder.

When you speak of experience and “tablet optimized apps”, what you’re really talking about is apps like this Solar System app. Not sure what they used to create it, but Flash would have been the best choice. If they used Flash, then the code base isn’t tied exclusively to iOS.

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