The Hills Are Greener: Five Years Later, What Separates the App Culture on iOS and Android Still?

The Hills Are Greener: Five Years Later, What Separates the App Culture on iOS and Android Still?

Jul 8, 2013

The App Store turns five this week, and it looks like it’s going to be a big deal: a variety of high-profile freebies are being made available, including classics like Where’s My Water?, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery, and even a recent hit like Badlands.

It’s hard to think that the land of mobile apps has been around for so long already – Google Play is actually close to turning 5 as well, with the Android Market having launched initially in October 2008. There’s a lot of apps, and a lot of Android devices out there – likely more than the App Store at this point.

It just still feels like the App Store is just a bigger deal, for whatever reason. Is it because of the Apple mystique that causes everything surrounding the App Store to feel more elevated, more important.


Perhaps it has to do with the community around the App Store? I’ve often felt that the lack of a promo code system on Google Play has limited what the press can do, as developers are often hesitant to send out APKs of their games. That’s an easy route to piracy.

As well, dropping an app’s price to free temporarily just does not happen on Google Play, so it’s not a way to promote apps. Why this has yet to change is baffling because it continues to arise as a problem.

But really, what do ascribe as the biggest reason for the difference between the culture of iOS and Android? iOS, because of the limited amount of hardware that can run it, has to focus on the apps. Android users tend to focus more on their devices, customizing them, hacking them…the app-focused culture isn’t there because it doesn’t necessarily have to be pointed in that direction.

However, Android continues to grow in prominence, and is still on the receiving end of many major apps and games. And I have talked to developers that have seen better performance on Android than on iOS because of the audience. As well, the core gamer audience may prefer Android. Perhaps it’s that hacker culture, or the availability of gamepads.

Whatever the reason for the different cultures, one can only hope that the app marketplaces can keep going strong for another five years. And who knows, maybe the culture will be dramatically changed by then as well…