Apple and Android app marketplace insight

For some time Apple has dominated the app marketplace space, outpacing rivals with literally hundreds of thousands of applications on offer – but Android is catching up and could well surpass Apple’s app share.

A recent report by the App Genome Project, which tracks the world of mobile apps, offers some insight into how the Android vs Apple battle is shaping up. Among the conclusions is the prediction that by 2012 the Android app marketplace will have more on offer than Apple, despite being significantly behind at this point.

The most recent report from the App Genome Project is based on data from August 2010 until February 2011. Over this period the number of applications in the Android marketplace increased by 127%. In comparison, the Apple store increased its numbers by 44%. Right now Android has around 100 000 applications in its marketplace. Apple added around 16 000 applications a month to hit 350 000 applications in February 2011.

However, Android is coming from a far lower base than Apple so the chance that it will maintain a +100% growth rate is fairly slim, but its trajectory is strong.

Productive developers

One of the more interesting insights into the two marketplaces was that Android developers tend to release more applications than iOS developers. On average there were 6.2 apps per developer in the Android store, while the Apple store average was 4.8 apps per developer.

Also worthy of attention were the splits between paid and unpaid apps on the two platforms. The percentage of paid-for apps in the Android market increased over the period from 22% in August to 34% in February. Apple’s paid-for apps decreased from 71% to 66% over the same period.

Price points for Android apps also shifted in the six month period. Previously around 60% of Android apps were priced at under US$1. Now the split for sub-US$1 apps is closer to 35% and there is a general increase in the price of paid-for apps in the Android store.

Location-aware apps are also a significant part of mobile apps according to the report. Of the apps in the Android marketplace 28% of them had the ability to access the user’s location. This is in comparison with 34% of Apple apps which could access location details.

The App Genome Project’s report.

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Apple and Android app marketplace insight