Android Hits 100K Apps, 200K Less than Apple iOS

The Android Market for smartphone and tablet applications reached the 100,000 application mark Oct. 25, one week after Apple iOS topped 300,000. Stop the numbers game madness!

News Analysis: Google's Android developer team tweeted that the maligned Android Market of software applications built for Android handsets and tablet computers had reached the 100,000 application mark Oct. 25.

That news via Twitter comes one week after Apple CEO Steve Jobs said the Apple App Store, which offers applications built for the iOS-based iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, had ballooned to 300,000 applications.

Piling on, the Windows phone gadget blog WPCentral announced that the new Windows Phone Marketplace hit 1,000 apps just two weejs after its launch along with the unveiling of forthcoming Windows Phone 7 handsets from AT&T and T-Mobile.

The phones aren't even in customers hands yet, but there are 1000 apps to choose from for Microsoft's hallowed new platform.

Since, we're on the numbers thing, Information Week noted Nokia boasts 16,000 applications; Research in Motions' Blackberry App World sports 10,000-plus apps; Palm's App Catalog sports just shy of 5,000 apps.

Quick math finds that's over 430,000 applications across 6 mobile app platforms.

What do these app store numbers have in common? In theory, they show market momentum, little affirmations for those platform developers that the platforms they are writing apps for are worth their efforts.

Apple and Android have it; the others don't. Fewer apps means little momentum, equals little reason to write for them, and less reason to write about them for media.

Android Market's momentum, reaching 100,000 apps after just two years, is surprising considering the Market is particularly notorious for high-levels of spam and piracy, not to mention inadequate payment infrastructure, notwithstanding the forthcoming partnership with PayPal.

However, Android's freewheeling, open source nature, the certified bane of Market's existence where spam and privacy are concerned, also makes it quite compelling for developers to write apps for. However, the apps aren't all that good, once one finds them.

Apple's App Store gets the gold star for quality, along with the gold star for Draconian developer policies, but no one platform really need 300,000 apps.

In reality, the numbers game for app stores today is so much overwrought back-patting. People -- we, the media, especially -- are infatuated by numbers.

Software evangelists for leading platforms such as Apple and Android burnish their numbers because they believe it helps keep the other platforms down.

Unfortunately, as is usually the case, the app count hype forsakes quantity for quality. Most of those applications are created because developers can build them. Most of the apps just aren't used, and most aren't that good.

Choice is all well and good, but does anyone really need 50 types of Twitter clients? Unfortunately, the glut won't end with Apple and Android.

HP is launching the Palm Pre 2. Windows Mobile Marketplace will come on strong in 2011, driven by rampant uptick in Windows Phone 7 sales from AT&T and T-Mobile this holiday season.

Soon, the media will be bowing to the Windows Phone 7 altar, when laid upon it by this time next year, is a gold star for having reached 50,000 or more apps.