Android Closes On Apple in Volume, But Not Usage
The number of paid Android apps pales compared to Apple.
Appleās App Store remains the largest but the Google Android Marketplace should match it in size by the end of July, while Blackberry App World will double in size within a six-month period, according to new research from Distimo.
Android far exceeds Apple in free applications (58 percent of the 50 most popular publishers have already developed applications for non-Apple platforms) but has barely one-third the total number of paid apps that are available in the Apple App Store. Daily downloads in the top 100 overall paid and free applications for iPad exceed 500,000, while daily revenue in the top 100 paid is approximately $400,000, excluding in-app purchases.
In March, Google introduced in-app billing for Android but developers for Google are still finding more of a challenge with a one-off monetization model than those in the Apple App store, according to Distimo. āWe found that only two paid applications have been downloaded more than half a million times in the Google Android Market worldwide to date, while six paid applications in the Apple App Store for iPhone generate the same number of downloads within a two-month timeframe in the United States alone,ā according to the report.
Apple gains even more ground when it comes to actual usage. Only 96 Android apps have been downloaded more than 5 million times, with Google Maps (which is often automatically downloaded with updates) being the most popular at 50 million downloads. According to the study, the majority of free Android applications have been downloaded less than 1,000 times.
And while 94 distinct applications reached a top 10 (paid or free) position in the Apple App Store for iPhone in the U.S. by April 2011, just 26 distinct applications have made the top 10 in the Google Android Market.
Popular Science was one of the first magazine brands to embrace both the Apple and Google subscription plans. āFrom an operations point of view, [Google] sounds like more familiar territory to us in terms of the way we market,ā Bonnier consumer marketing director Bob Cohn told FOLIO: at the time. āThe big question is consumer adoption. Are consumers going to buy that tablet? The advantage of the Apple process is itās seamless once you set up an Apple account on iTunes. The disadvantage up until now has been that we didnāt have any information on that purchaserāwe donāt know how many are repeats, how many are trying it once and not liking it. With Google, weāll theoretically be able to obtain all that information. But if they donāt sell many units, it doesnāt matter.ā
A Publisher Speaks Out
Perry Solomon, Time Inc.ās vice president of digital and emerging platforms, offered Folio: his thoughts on the Distimo study.
āIn some ways it is a reflection of the fact that Apple has been in the market with the iPad for a much longer period of time, so I think the buying behavior for those customers that have iPads and iTunes is a bit more of a well-understood market place,ā he says. āAs the installed base of Android increases, more customers will start to download and buy apps at the Android Marketplace. I think youāll see take rates increasing and our initial experiences have reflected that as well. I think what weāre very pleased with, in terms of Android, is that it gives us the opportunity to allow our existing print subscribers to be able to access our content on these platforms through the all-access model.ā
Solomon says that since consumers value choice, the Android Marketplace outpacing Appleās size will help engage the customers on the platform and increase competition.
From a publisherās perspective, Solomon is pleased with the competition between Apple and Android.
āWe donāt look at it as a āversusā or as one or the other but just giving the consumer more choice,ā he says. āWeāve made the decision that we want to play on these platforms and I think initially we view this as a net positiveāhaving two strong choices and others emerging. In general, weāre happy with the products that we put onto these platforms and weāre happy our customers are happy with these platforms.ā