Google's Android platform is beating Apple's iOS in app downloads, according to ABI Research. However, iOS leads in app downloaded per user, perhaps a signal of quality over Android's quantity.
Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system vaulted
over Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS platform in market share downloads by a count of
44 percent to 31 percent, according to research released by ABI Research Oct.
The statistic may be surprising at first blush,
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.
However, Google with Android is practicing a death-by-1,000-tiny-cuts scenario
versus Apple. As Google CEO Larry Page noted on the company's third-quarter
conference call Oct. 13
, 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
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
20 percent in Q1. Android's install base now exceeds iOS by a factor of
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.
However, it seems as though Android is still winning with
quantity over quality. ABI 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 catalog 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
It remains to be seen whether Google can match Apple's consumer app store experience.