Android overtakes iOS in app downloads

SAN FRANCISCO — The Android operating system now leads in total app downloads, another benchmark in the race to dominate the smartphone market, according to ABI Research.

The market research firm’s Singapore office said Android overtook iOS in the second quarter of this year with 44 per cent of mobile app downloads being delivered to Android devices, compared to 31 percent going to iOS gadgets.

Android has grown much faster than ABI’s earlier projections have suggested. In 2009, Google’s OS facilitated just 11 per cent of total app downloads. At that time, the firm projected that figure might grow to 23 per cent by 2014. Instead, 2011 seems to have been the year that Android made its move on iOS.

As recently as August 2010, ABI reported that iOS still held a dominant 52 per cent of the market for mobile app downloads. “Android’s open source strategy is the main factor for its success,” says Lim Shiyang, an ABI research associate. “Being a free platform has expanded the Android device install base, which in turn has driven growth in the number of third party multiplatform and mobile operator app stores.”
According to ABI, Android’s install base now exceeds iOS by a margin of 2.4-to-1 worldwide; by 2016 that will grow to 3-to-1.

Shiyang says the open source factor alone could be enough to explain Android’s success, but ABI also notes that growth in iPhone shipments slowed in the middle of 2011, likely as consumers decided to wait to buy a new Apple iPhone until the next model (which we now know to be the iPhone 4s) was released. While Apple growth was slowing, Android shipments increased 36 percent in the second quarter.

Of course, the picture for the last quarter of 2011 could look very different, thanks to the October release of the iPhone 4S, which has already broken sales records. And Apple users still download more apps per user than Android by a 2-to-1 margin, according to the ABI report.

“Apple’s superior monetization policies attracted good developers within its ranks, thus creating a better catalog of apps and customer experience,” says ABI’s Dan Shey.

In the end, both Apple and Android win. ABI expects global app downloads for 2011 to hit 29 billion total, a huge increase from 9 billion downloads in 2010. That’s thanks to a total smartphone install base that’s expected to grow 46 percent this year.

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Featured Article

ADaPT connects employers with highly skilled young workers

Help wanted. That’s what many tech companies across Canada are saying, and research shows that as the demand for skilled workers...

Related Tech News

Tech Jobs

Our experienced team of journalists and bloggers bring you engaging in-depth interviews, videos and content targeted to IT professionals and line-of-business executives.

Tech Companies Hiring Right Now