Android Edges Out iPhone in Number of Free Applications Available


We can’t say this was much of a shock to us, but analytics research firm Distimo today released figures about the world’s smartphone app stores. The highlight of the report was Android’s reign in amount of free applications opposed to iPhone – 134.3 thousand opposed to 121.8 thousand. And this is all while Android still has yet to come close to the number of Apps in the app store for both tablets and phones.

It’s expected considering the nature of the Android market’s revenue model these days. More and more, developers are looking to ads and in-game purchases for revenue instead of one-time purchases at the virtual point of sale. While we’d like to believe this is because that’s truly “the Google way”, we’re sure the real reason is because  – well – a lot of Android users just don’t like paying for apps.

Android holds the number two spot for the amount of applications in its market currently, but Distimo expects the picture to change drastically at the end of the year as they forecast Android beating out the iPhone to become the number one market in terms of size. Sure, a lot of it’s junk, but a bigger number means one less marketing bulletpoint for old uncle Jobs to exploit. [via MobileCrunch]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Now the only question is if this is a good thing? I would much rather pay for an app with no ads that i use frequently rather than getting it for free with ads.

    I guess that’s what Adblock is for. :)

    1. Even if someone isnt rooted and gets ads, I still don’t think ads are a big deal. Most of the apps I used that had ads, before I rooted, weren’t that intrusive. The only problems with ads that I have are the ones that cover up part of the app.

      Also, does this chart include ALL free apps, like the free ones that are “lite” versions of paid apps? Because I’d gladly try out a free app with ads before spending money on it, especially with the 15 minute time limit.

  2. I don’t care about the number of apps.

    I’m still waiting for Android to get better quality apps, as the app quality is the biggest advantage that the iPhone currently has.

    1. This is one of the reasons I’ve considered moving to the dark side. It seems like every app with an iOS and Android version, the iOS version is better in terms of stability and features. It’s like they write and test the iOS version and port it over to Android as an afterthought. Quite frustrating. Words With Friends and Skype come to mind.

      1. Apps like Beluga seems much better on Android than on iPhone. Every now and then, iPhone users start complaining about stability issues until one pops up telling others to uninstall and reinstall to fix. I never had to reinstall on both of my phones.

      2. you should see that trend start to change soon. developers are finally starting to realize that Android is here to stay, and that lots of people use it. that number is only growing.

      3. iOS apps-games especially-are no more stable. Words With Friends is buggy period on either platform. I’ve had no problems with Skype on my Optimus, and games like Zenonia @ actually seem smoother and more responsive.

        1. True, they aren’t any more stable, but the developers spend more time on the iOS apps than the Android apps, resulting in better apps for iOS.

        2. Most of the whines about iOS app quality are pure grass is greener bull.

      4. Also, because of this issue, I carry around both an Android phone and an iPod touch.

        The main reason why I don’t buy an iPhone to avoid carrying around 2 devices, is because I prefer Sprint’s data plans, Android’s web browser, 4G, an 4/4.3 inch screen, and I also prefer being able to remove the battery so then I can replace the battery cheaply.

    2. The reason it “SEEMS” that iOS apps are better is because they been in development longer and most important iOS apps are HUGE compared to their Android counterpart. The same Android app could be like 1mb in size and the same iOS app is 10mb. Most of it is unnecessary “prettified” graphics that bloat the apps.
      Glad Android apps are now little by little getting more development time and respect. They are now getting better. Some even better than the iOS version.

  3. Facebook is free on both. Look and see which platform has a better quality version. Free does not equal good. In most cases, it doesn’t.

  4. So many of them are garbage apps like skins that nobody wants.


  6. Honestly for me the only major pull toward iOS is games, while the Android market has improved a lot since I first got my hero a few years ago it is still dismal compared to iOS, google really needs to start getting the devs on board as that is where the money is at imo.

  7. This article just stupid. All the apps are free. You get them from Appstores in china. hey all been hacked with no ads and free. No need for adblocker or utorrent. Anroid rocks!

  8. Android users not liking to pay for apps is a very big euphemism for like to “share” malware infected copies of apps to their homies, which is also a euphemism.

  9. I’ve used iOS devices and was really sad that you had to pay for EVERYTHING. The benefit of having a geek friendly OS is that people will develop apps for free. Think Linux.

  10. Free apps are plastered with ads, for example free angry bird apps have ads in the spot I am supposed to aim for. I can afford 99 cents once in a great while so I prefer to just get the damn one dollar app.

  11. Pointless comparison.

    The average developer does not look at the size of an App Strore, but the revenue it generates.

    Free apps are great if they serve a purpose and they are not infested with ads, but on the whole a developer would like to make money from an App directly, and if you want that you go iOS.

    I think I bought 10 apps about a year ago for my HD2 and they have worked well since then, through Froyo and now Gingerbread, but no Apps on the market jump out and say BUY ME.

    Compare that to the just browsing experience of the App Store on my iPhone and its chalk and cheese, with brilliant games, great music software, massive list of utilities and so on. All promoted well, updates regularly and so on.

    So for me Android remains the freeware junkyard of the occasional gem. If anyone can tell me of a must have App released in the past month on Android let me know.

    — Oh maybe the new Google Docs app, that quite good.

  12. It doesn’t reeally matter, right now Jobs and crew are saying “We rule as we have the most apps” and next year they will be saying “It’s quality not quanitity we have more worhtwhile apps” or some such shite. Either way it’s irrelevant. To be the top player in this field you need to be top on all counts, app quality and quantity, platform polish and reliability. I think Android is progressing faster on every aspect here than Apple but I do think they are coming from further back than Apple on most points.

  13. I came from an iphone and I have to say I don’t find the quality or selection of android apps as any kind of limitation these days, All of my most frequently used android apps are perfectly stable.

    The only thing I wish is that every dev would release advertising free versions of apps as a lite version with a paid app available, if I use an app a lot and it has a lite and paid version after awhile of using the app I normally fork over the money for the paid app, but not every app has a paid version.

    I don’t use ad blocking software on my phone, the devs of free android apps deserve the money they make from advertising, and I find ad blocking software on android to actually cause instability, I think because the app keeps trying to pull down the ads

    I use words with friends extensively and the app quality is quickly improving since it’s launch in febuary, and I’m completely addicted to tv show streams that’s a new must have app for me

  14. There is no free lunch. You pay one way or another. Developers’ gotta buy shoes for their children, too.

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