ABI researcher, Lim Shiyang said, “Android’s open source strategy is the main factor for its success. Being a free platform has expanded the Android device install base, which in turn has driven growth in the number of third party multi-platform and mobile operator app stores. These conditions alone explain why Android is the new leader in the mobile application market”.
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The growth figure paints a grim picture for Apple. iPhone shipments fell from 15% to nine percent in the second quarter of 2011. In stark contrast, Android shipments grew by 36% during the same time period. Android versus iPhone install base is now 2.4 to one. By 2016, the predicted install base will be three to one in Android’s favour.
Dan Shey, practice director at ABI, was quick to dismiss the new figures. “Despite leading in total mobile application downloads, Android’s app downloads per user still lag behind Apple’s by two to one. Apple’s superior monetisation policies attracted good developers within its ranks, thus creating a better catalogue of apps and customer experience”.
With smartphones being used globally and sitting at an install base of 46%, the total number of app downloads is expected to rocket to 29-billion by the end of 2011.
What Apple has always relied on is its software advantage. Being the market leader in apps has placed it in a prominent position, elevating its iPhone as a device which far exceeds its intended uses. Android however, is a free platform and developers have endless options in terms of development opportunities. It was only a matter of time until Android apps took the number one spot and Apple will have to pull out the big guns to reign in new users and maintain a winning stance.