Probably the most significant development in smartphone technology, apart from the technology itself, is the rise of mobile applications. In fact, the International Data Corporation predicts that the number of mobile application downloads worldwide will grow from 10.9-billion in 2010 to 76.9-billion in 2014 and mobile app revenues will surpass US$35-billion in the same year.
Paulo Ferreira, Head of Product and Software Solutions at Samsung, reckons the most important reason for apps becoming so successful is that people’s most important communication device — the cellphone — has become a complex computing device with powerful processors that can access high speed internet connections using mobile networks.
“This gives users the ability to not only make calls and send SMSes, but access services through a device which is small enough to sit in their pocket. And leading this front is Android, not only due to its open architecture, but also due to its flexibility and versatility across so many devices,” he says.
According to the App Genome Project, a mobile application dataset created to map the anatomy of mobile applications across multiple mobile platforms and app markets, the Android market grew by 127% from August 2010 to February 2011.
It also predicts that the Android Market will have more applications than Apple’s App store in a year’s time if it maintains the current rate of growth. What’s more, the percentage of paid-for apps increased from 22% to 34% in the Android market over this six-month period.
Highlights from the report include:
- The number of apps available on the Android Market increased by approximately 127% since August 2010, while the Apple App Store grew at a relative rate of 44%.
- If each market continues to grow at the same rate, the Android Market will have more apps than the Apple App Store by mid-2012.
- Android Market developers typically release more apps than Apple App Store developers. On average the Android Market has 6.2 apps per developer and the Apple App Store has 4.8 apps per developer.
App Economy: The Android Market is Maturing with Growth in Paid Apps
- The Android Market’s prevalence of paid apps increased from 22% in August 2010 to 34% in February 2011, whereas the proportion of paid apps in the Apple App Store decreased slightly during the same period, going from 71% to 66%.
- Android Market price points have increased: the proportion of paid Android Market apps costing $0.99 or less decreased from 61% in August 2010 to 37% in February 2011.
- In terms of advertising within apps, the Google AdMob SDK is integrated into more free apps in both the Android Market and the Apple App Store than any other ad platform, though iAd is quickly gaining traction in the Apple App Store.
“These statistics are significant as it means that app users are not only downloading fun apps to pass the time, but are increasingly prepared to pay money for apps that provide them with significant value — indicative of the need and desire for content,” adds Ferreira.
“Android’s open architecture is key in this regard due to the fact that it provides greater access for the developer community, as well as for the user. And with Android phones having just overtaken iPhone in terms of the number of devices globally, Android is well positioned to dominate the smartphone market from an app as well as a handset perspective,” says Ferreira.