Android Market Surpasses 10 Billion, Apple iOS Still Developer Choice
Apple may be the current king when it comes to app downloads, but Google’s Android platform is proving to be a strong competitor, as the company announced that its Android Market had surpassed the milestone of 10 billion app downloads. While it took Google 20 months to amass its first billion app downloads, Android’s impressive momentum now has the platform’s app store racking up a billion downloads on a monthly basis with relative ease.
Eric Chu, director of Android’s developer ecosystem, described the recent success, stating: “One billion is a pretty big number by any measurement. However, when it’s describing the speed at which something is growing, it’s simply amazing.” Perhaps the main factor behind Android’s success is the fact that the platform now offers so many smartphones and tablets under its umbrella. Several big name manufacturers have stood behind the platform and are releasing Android-based products at a rapid pace. Google claims that over 200 million Android devices have been sold, while there is an average of 550,000 device activations daily. More devices in customers’ hands means more people browsing the Android market to download apps.
Some of the most popular Android apps that have helped propel the platform to its 10 billion app download milestone include Facebook, Pandora, Words With Friends, Angry Birds, and Flick Golf. To celebrate the proud moment in Android history, Google has partnered with a host of Android developers to offer customers deep discounts on app downloads for the next two weeks. The select list of apps will be available at just 10 cents per download instead of their normal everyday price.
Although it is hard to deny Android’s skyrocketing popularity, its 10 billion app downloads still trail Apple’s by a wide margin. Apple used the iPhone 4S launch event in October to announce that its App Store had passed 18 billion app downloads, and the number is surely higher now that two months have passed. Despite the fact that Apple’s iPhone or iPad releases may cause chaotic anticipation amongst many consumers, Android does hold the upper hand when it comes to smartphone sales, especially if you look at recent statistics. While Apple and Android were in a dead heat in terms of smartphone sales last year, Android has now managed to double Apple’s figures for such devices.
Apple’s iOS is the Platform of Choice Amongst Developers
Strategy Analytics recently released the results of its “App Developer Attitudes and Behaviors” report, and it shows that Apple’s iOS platform still holds considerable weight with developers despite Android’s meteoric rise.
The results of Strategy Analytics’ report, which covers developer behavior for the last six months of 2011, reveal that 51 percent of developers surveyed had developed for iOS this year and plan to develop for Apple’s platform next year. Such dedication is much higher for iOS than any other competing platform and is extremely impressive when you consider that 46.3 percent of all smartphones in the United States currently run on the Android mobile operating system. Developer interest in the Android platform for next year registers in at 30 percent, which is a decent jump from the 23 percent of developers who wrote for it in the past year.
There are a few reasons why iOS is so popular with developers. First and foremost, Apple’s App Store is the champion when it comes to revenue. According to a recent estimate by Piper Jaffray, the App Store is responsible for a whopping 80 to 90 percent of the entire app industry’s revenue. Beyond its financial appeal, iOS is also attractive due to the variety of devices it serves. Although interest in writing for the iPhone amongst developers has dropped from 42 percent in the past year to 32 percent for the upcoming year, many have expressed a desire to focus on Apple’s popular iPad tablet. Only eight percent of developers said they wrote for the iPad last year, but 19 percent announced plans to do so for the upcoming year. Over 150,000 of the App Store’s 500,000-plus apps are compatible with the iPad or have been specifically developed for the tablet.
While Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform is struggling mightily to gain a larger piece of the smartphone market pie from consumers, it is managing to attract the attention of developers. Only three percent of developers surveyed by Strategy Analytics said they wrote for the platform in the past year, but eight percent expect to do so next year. Microsoft’s partnership with Nokia certainly has given it a boost, and a variety Windows Phone devices set to hit the U.S and global markets next year adds to the platform’s appeal as well. Perhaps most important of all, however, is that fewer developers are currently writing for Windows Phone, which means there are more opportunities for the up and coming developer to make a splash.
As for what developers may be looking for when selecting a platform, Josh Martin, the author of Strategy Analytics’ report, said, “We see strong interest in emerging platforms and new business models, such as virtual goods and in-app advertising over the next year.”