May 10, 2011
Don’t look now, but the Android Market is about to surpass the Apple App Store, at least in one quantifiable metric. According to a report on TechCrunch, the Android Market is expected to surpass the App Store in the total number of apps sometime this summer. A pair of research firms, Distimo and research2guidance, expect the Android Market to surpass the App Store in July and August, respectively. These predictions are based in part based on the fact that the Android Market had 28,000 new apps in April, while the App Store had 11,000 – assuming that kind of accelerated rate of apps on the Market continues, the Market will technically be bigger than the App Store before we know it.
The relevance of this beyond it being something Google and other Android backers can hawk as a bullet point against iOS is unknown, however. According to research2guidance’s free “Android Market Insights” report, however, “The long tail gets longer and longer while the top 5% gets richer and richer.” Essentially, as app stores grow, and as more apps start to pop up, it becomes even harder for apps that aren’t top performers to get a slice of the revenue on Android Market. While Android’s numbers are growing by the day, to the point where Android users may soon outnumber all other smartphone platforms, if the rate of apps on the Market is also expanding, it might not be easier for developers to make money off of the Android Market. Of course, this isn’t factoring in the number of free (and likely ad-supported) apps on the Market, as well as the rate at which Android users would buy apps. Both could have a negative effect on potential revenue for the Android Market, to a point where while the App Store might be a smaller market in terms of numbers of users, it would be a more attractive market for developers, still. So, while Android Market may be growing, it might not be the kind of attractive market that the App Store has been.