Android Market Now Hosts More Free Apps than iPhone

Distimo has launched their regular report on app store figures, running down the highest-ranked free and premium apps across iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Ovi, GetJar, webOS, and Windows Phone app stores. In March, the Android Market offered more free apps than than the prestigious iPhone App Store, leading by about 12,500 apps in that category. Last summer, Android claimed a higher percentage of free apps, but now that Google has beaten Apple on an absolute basis, we can see why people aren’t as excited to pick up an iPhone these days. In fact, Distimo projects that within five months, Android will overtake iPhone as the top app provider in the world; that sounds a little soon to me, but given the momentum, it’s hard not to see it happen eventually.

Although Apple still has a respectable stable of tablet-optimized apps, Distimo has found that over half of the top 50 iPad publishers have already made tablet apps on other platforms. Speaking of the other players, Windows Phone is seeing good momentum and has blasted past the webOS market (in terms of selection, at least), while BlackBerry App World still wrestles with the Nokia Ovi store for the number three spot. GetJar, the biggest third-party app store out there, sits prominently between Windows Phone and BlackBerry.

Free apps are great and all, but they don’t always equate to quality; do you guys think a bigger number of free apps will be a real attraction to phone shoppers, or are the real quality apps made by developers who get paid well?

[via Distimo]

  • From my point of view the sheer number comparison is quite pointless, because on Android there are thousands of useless “spam” apps which are nothing more than wrapped homepages or even demos which Apple would simply reject.

    The rise of Android is fascinating and it’s definitely going to continue but in terms of quality apps it’s still nowhere near the iOS platform (but at least all major apps are now on the same level)

    • Taraba

      “From my point of view the sheer number comparison is quite pointless”

      Tell Steve Jobs that because he keeps bringing up these numbers. Also every forum poster who keeps comparing how many who has and how many they had at launch. “number of apps” is the new “megapixel”

      “because on Android there are thousands of useless “spam” apps which are nothing more than wrapped homepages or even demos”

      Right, because there aren’t thousands of fart apps on iOS or gun sound apps. And no one releases any apps that just give you an app interface to their web page when Apple specifically has a SDK to do such a thing.

      • >”number of apps” is the new “megapixel”
        I love that comparison. It’s spot on. I don’t say number of apps don’t mean anything (it’s clearly very important when e.g. comparing an Android device to a Palm device, but also alone a high number apps won’t bring you the best platform in the same way as a high MegaPixel camera is not necessarily great)

        >Right, because there aren’t thousands of fart apps on iOS or gun sound apps. And no one releases any
        >apps that just give you an app interface to their web page when Apple specifically has a SDK to do
        >such a thing.
        Sure there are also some. But Apple has banned a lot of the devs with these kind of practices: http://www.mobilecrunch.com/2009/08/03/apple-bans-app-stores-3rd-most-prolific-developer/ Android is much more liberal on this so there are many devs who just automatically create apps from web content and this hughely inflates the Android app numbers.

      • Point of the wrapped webpage is that there are many users that make wrapped webpages, throw an ad on it, and make it sound like it was released by the company that makes the webpage. These users are making money off of the other company webpages and when something doesn’t work in the app, it makes a bad name for the company.

        Apple will absolutely reject any app that just does this. Yes, in iOS there is SDK protocols to do such a thing, but this is meant to be used by the company that owns the webpage, not Joe Schmoe that just wraps a webpage and places an ad on it. And the companies that use this wrapper function use it as a way to do some specific function within the app to navigate around what they created, not just simply an ad over a mobile webpage.

        I have reported a few users that I have discovered creating apps like this on Android and Google will remove them when reported and ban the user that created them because it is copyright infringement. And I am not talking about users that create apps that assist in creating APIs to have you be able to preform special functions. If they build an app based off an API of a company, that is fine. But when they simply create a wrapper that redirects to a website and place an ad on it, the user didn’t take but five minutes to create and post the app. They are making money off of the company’s website. If something doesn’t work, they think it is the product of that company and the user will then blast that company. You must remember that many Android users are “stupid” in the sense that they don’t bother to read any description. So when something is created that causes something to break and they word it in a way that makes it sound like the product was created by the company, the “stupid” users will believe that it is created by that company.

        A perfect example is a few “Netflix queue” apps that create API based apps to let you navigate and browse/rearrange your disc queue. Every (good) app says something like, “YOU CANNOT WATCH VIDEOS. NETFLIX DOESN’T ALLOW THIS. IF YOU WANT TO WATCH VIDEOS, CONTACT NETFLIX TO MAKE THIS AVAILABLE.” Even if that statement is bolded at the top of the description of each Netflix queue app that also has “queue” in the title, “stupid” Android users will download it, discover you can only edit your queue, uninstall it then give a one star review saying, “It doesn’t play videos, uninstalled.” This is why I wish there was a different community for the market, one for experienced users that will give informal reviews about an app, and a separate community for “stupid” users. But for now I guess it is just how it is.

  • Birdy0610

    hmmm… that means, develop for iPhone platform make money now.

    Look at the paid apps numbers, that’s where it generate money. This chart show me a different out look of economy, Android still struggle in making money.

    • Mark

      “that means, develop for iPhone platform make money now. ”

      I think you’re inferring information that this graph is not showing. That’s just the number of paid apps listed on the marketplace, not the number of apps that have been paid for. It’s not saying if there’s any revenue on that part or how much it is.

      “Look at the paid apps numbers, that’s where it generate money.”

      Not true. Ad supported free apps make money too. A lot of apps have a free version with ads and a paid version without ads

      • Birdy0610

        Free ad that make money through advertising is a different issue, there’s always as a reason why the apps have a paid version even they can make it free by having advertising on it. Paid versions make better money, and iOS’s apps now support in-app purchase, the money could be multiple.

        The point is: quantity of free app is not the measurement for the strength of the platform. Especially Android is yet to figure out how to make money from the OS.

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