By the middle of 2012, Android’s app repository ‘Market’ is likely to overtake the current industry leader, Apple’s ‘App Store’.
Google, which controls the mobile operating system, Android, said early this month that the Market had registered 10 billion downloads. This is behind the 15 billion apps downloaded from App Store so far. But Market downloads are accelerating and currently gliding at a rate of one billion apps a month. Android took 22 months to reach its first billion downloads. But it went from nine to ten billions in one month flat.
The number of apps hosted on Market is also catching up with App Store. In October 2011 Market had half a million apps, which compared well with 600,000 apps on App Store.
The app race is not a zero sum game, Android’s gain does not necessarily translate into App Store’s loss. Given that all of us end up using only a small number of applications, a mobile operator with a limited number of quality apps may be as attractive to users as a player loaded with millions of obscure apps. The publishers of popular apps take care to release them in all platforms, any way.
Many users care more about the quality and security of apps than their sheer numbers. App Store with a stringent approval policy scores over Market here, which is relatively open.
Nevertheless, the data emphatically heralds the forceful rise of Android. Smart phones are multi-purpose tools and it is the apps, which make them look like Swiss knives. The race for mobile market share in a large way is a race for wooing independent developers to develop apps. In this contest, Android is emerging as a more attractive platform to app makers.
The trend is of particular interest to Indian developers, who have been switching over from the doomed OS, Nokia’s Symbian, to Android. Incidentally, early this year, Android replaced Symbian as the world’s most popular OS.