Android Market Tops 10B Downloads: Google

Google said its Android Market has accrued over 10 billion application downloads since its launch in October 2008. Apple has notched close to 20 billion downloads to its App Store.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) said its Android Market application store exceeded 10 billion application downloads this past weekend, clearly helped by the fact the more than 200 million Android devices have been activated all over the world, with 550,000 activated each day.

For perspective, the Android Market tallied 6.5 billion downloads through July and 4.5 billion through last May, when Google revealed the number at Google I/O. The Android app growth has accelerated considerably when one considers that it took Google from October 2008 to July 2010 to hit the 1 billion app download mark.

The search engine, which is counting on smartphones, tablets and TVs based on its Android operating system to help it funnel more ads to consumers, celebrated the milestone by offering new applications for 10 cents a piece for the next 10 days.

Titles costing a dime a piece today include Asphalt 6 HD, Color & Draw for Kids, Endomondo Sports Tracker Pro, Fieldrunners HD, Great Little War Game, Minecraft, Paper Camera, Sketchbook Mobile, Soundhound Infinity and SwiftKey X.

"None of these apps would have existed if it weren't for the developers who created them," Eric Chu, director of the Android Developer Ecosystem, wrote in a corporate blog post. "Every day, these developers continue to push the limits on what's possible and delight us in the process. For that, we thank them."

Hitting 10 billion apps is a nice mark for the Android Market, which had been much maligned since its launch for offering too many spammy apps and a weaker user experience than that offered by Apple's App Store.

Apple would likely greet Google's milestone with a shoulder shrug and point out that its 18 billion app downloads are cooler than Google's 10 billion app downloads. That's Apple's app download figure across the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch through Oct. 4.

ABI Research has the stats to back Google's ascent. The researcher said the Android operating system vaulted over Apple's iOS platform in market share downloads by a count of 44 percent to 31 percent.

Yet ABI also 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.

Clearly, Google's Android Market team has work to do.