Apple's App Store has long been winning the app numbers contestand, no doubt, it is a contest. At Apple's 2012 Worldwide Developers Conference in June, one of the first things CEO Tim Cook told the audience, upon taking the stage, is that there are now more than 650,000 apps in Apple's storewhich also has "the largest number of credit cards on file anywhere in the world."
The only problem: Too few of those apps are actually being purchased.
Adeven, a new mobile analytics startup, has found that nearly two-thirds of the apps in the app store400,000 apps"get no downloads," Gigaom reported July 31, following a chat with Adeven CEO Christian Henschel.
Because of Apple's closed system, and without "proper search" tools, the only way to discover new apps is through the top listingswhich tend to be dominated by the same companies with big bucks to spend, said Henschel.
"If you're an independent, small app publisher," Henschel told Gigaom, "then it's really tough to be discovered."
Adeven currently offers developers a free tool, Apptrace, which for the moment offers iOS data, on the app and ecosystem level, from the 155 countries with access to the App Store. During the fourth quarter of this year, the company will begin offering Android analytics, and soon also the ability to compare apps against each othersomething that, despite the growing analytics markets, is currently not available, Henschel told Gigaom.
A July report from Distimo also found download figures to be falling. Due to emerging competition, it reported, "the number of downloads among the top 200 most popular applications per available app in the Apple App Store for iPhone decreased from 15.4 at its height to 8.4 in June 2012."
The findings offer an opportunity for other platforms to woo developers. Research In Motion, despite being in a time of intense "transition," as executives have described it, is doing all it can to interest developers in BlackBerry 10, the new platform it now plans to release during the first quarter of 2013.
Midway through its BlackBerry 10 Jam World Toura way to interact with developers around the world and better acquaint them with, and build excitement around, the new platformRIM opened a BlackBerry App World Portal, where developers can post their new apps for other developers to check out and offer feedback on.
The BlackBerry platform has been shownperhaps most recently by analytics firm Vision Mobileto offer developers the greatest returns. According to a June Vision Mobile report, the average BlackBerry app pays $3,853 a month, compared with $3,693 for iOS apps and $1,234 for Android.
Microsoft, which has even paid developers of popular applications to create apps for its store, is cranking up its efforts as it nears the Oct. 26 launch of Windows 8. The OS will run on a number of tablets, including Microsoft's Surface.
"With more than 630 million licenses sold to date, across 200+ countries and regions around the world, Windows has an unrivaled global reach," Arik Cohen, Microsoft's lead programmer for its Commerce and Licensing team, wrote in a July 20 blog post on the options that developers have for making money with their apps.
"Combined with the flexibility of monetization options that the Store provides," Cohen continued, "Windows 8 represents the single biggest developer opportunity for any platform."