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.
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.
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.