Android Overtakes iOS For App Downloads

Android has overtaken Apple’s iOS platform in terms of app downloads, according to latest figures

More good news for Google’s Android operating system after it emerged that it has overtaken Apple’s iOS regarding market share downloads, according to ABI Research research.

It found that Android was now leading the downloaded app race by a count of 44 percent to 31 percent.

The statistic may be surprising at first glance, considering that Apple has more than 500,000 applications in its vaunted iTunes App Store, compared to more than 300,000 for Google’s Android Market.

Android Threat

However, Google with Android is practising a death-by-1,000-tiny-cuts scenario versus Apple. As Google CEO Larry Page noted on the company’s third-quarter conference call 13 October, more than 190 million Android smartphones and tablets have been activated worldwide.

With 130 million iPhones and 32 million-plus iPads shipped, Apple hasn’t been a slouch either. Still, Android devices continue to outnumber iOS devices.

According to ABI’s number-crunching, iPhone shipment growth in the second quarter slowed to 9 percent from 15 percent a quarter earlier, while Android smartphone shipments increased 36 percent in Q2 2011, from 20 percent in Q1. Android’s install base now exceeds iOS by a factor of 2.4-to-1 worldwide.

It also helps more and more of the 300-plus Android smartphones available are 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) enabled and incorporate dual-core processors. This means devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S II and the Motorola Droid Bionic facilitate faster application downloads.

Just as Google has shown that faster web search leads to more searches, it’s likely that faster app downloads means consumers will put more apps on their phones and tablets.

Thanks to the increase in app download speeds and the proliferation of smartphones worldwide, global app downloads for 2011 will grow to 29 billion, compared to only nine billion in 2010, said ABI.

Quantity vs Quality

ABI also said that while Android took the lead in mobile app downloads, Apple’s app downloads per user bested Android by a ratio of 2 to 1.

“Apple’s superior monetization policies attracted good developers within its ranks, thus creating a better catalogue of apps and customer experience,” reasoned ABI analyst Dan Shey.

Google’s Android team continues to work to improve its Android Market experience, adding more carrier billing and better app download transparency tools to provide developers some insight into how their work is faring in the store.

It remains to be seen whether Google can match Apple’s consumer app store experience.