Google has matched Apple's App Store for the first time, claiming some 700,000 apps available for Android. The company didn't tell Bloomberg that all of these apps were specifically available on its own Google Play online store, but in the war for bragging rights, Apple has one less weapon.
The reality, as we have pointed out in the past, is that this particular race lost most of its meaning long ago. Once both ecosystems crossed the 200,000 apps mark, it became hard for any smartphone user to not find an app that would suit their purposes.
Cross the half-a-million mark, and it truly became a bragging rights-only thing, and the only people that really care about those bragging rights are partisans of one persuasion on the other. For the average user (i.e. almost all potential customers), it was meaningless and unknown.
Still, it was a feather in Apple's cap, so to speak, and Apple maintained the lead for years despite having lost the market share race on the smartphone side some two years ago. Then again, Apple still crushes Android in the number of native iPad apps available on the App Store—275,000 as of the iPad mini media event.
Note that Apple CEO Tim Cook was keen on emphasizing that number during the event, too. It got more emphasis than the 700,000 total apps that was also iterated during the event, and that's most likely because Apple knew it was the number where it still leads.
Google doesn't tend to tout the number of Android tablet apps available—fun fact: Google "total number of Android tablet apps" and you'll get a bunch of links talking about trying to figure it out and why there are so few—concentrating instead on the total number.
Nexus 7 and Google's new Nexus 10 might be enough to change this formula and goose Android tablet app development. If other hardware makers then match their own devices to Google's specs, it could finally build some momentum for developers, but for now, Apple rules this particular roost.
We have written frequently about the killer app for tablets being the experience and how this differs from smartphones, where the killer app is Internet access. In that regard, Apple's iPad app lead does matter and contributes not only to Apple's huge lead in market share, but also such things as Apple's even more massive lead in things like Web traffic and other indicators of actual tablet use.
Then there's the issue of quality. Our belief at The Mac Observer is that Apple's curated App Store results in higher quality apps that are free of malware. Android partisans will often point out that the curating process results in seemingly arbitrary or unfair exclusions, and heck, you can't even get pr0n apps.
Choose your poison, but remember that it only matters to the partisans. The average user couldn't care less about this stuff.
In the meanwhile, it's a good time to be alive if you like your techy gadgets. 700,000 apps to choose from on Android and iOS? Come on, that's awesome!
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