Google catches up to Apple with 700K apps for Android
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) announced there are now about 700,000 applications available for download to devices running its Android mobile operating system, an increase of 25,000 compared to a month ago. The surge vaults Google into a dead heat with archrival Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which last week stated there are now 700,000 apps for its iOS mobile platform as well.
Google recently said there are more than 500 million Android devices in use worldwide, with an average of 1.3 million additional activations each day. "We'll be at 1 billion mobile devices in a year," Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt revealed earlier this month.
Despite Android's explosive growth, the Google Play storefront has been less lucrative for developers than Apple's App Store for iOS or the Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) Appstore for Android. For every $1 generated by the App Store, Amazon Appstore drives an average of $0.89 per user, while Google Play earns developers just $0.23 per user, according to data published earlier this year by app store analytics firm Flurry. Both Apple and Amazon tout significant retail experience and seamless purchase mechanisms, while Google's strengths are its search tools and advertising technologies.
Android's monetization issues have prompted some developers to sidestep the platform. A recent Appcelerator/IDC survey reveals that 76 percent of developers are very interested in building Android smartphone apps and slightly less than 66 percent indicate strong interest in Android tablet apps. At the same time, 85 percent of respondents are very interested in building apps for the iPhone, and 83 percent express comparable enthusiasm for creating iPad apps.
Reaching the 700,000 Android app milestone suggests Google has made significant strides in its efforts to attract the developer community. For example, Google Play introduced in-app subscription support in May 2012, enabling developers to offer both monthly or annual subscription options, and this month Google rolled out options enabling consumers to trial in-app premium subscription content for free. Speaking in June at Google's annual I/O developer conference, Android Engineering Director Chris Yerga said that more than 50 percent of Android developer revenues derive from sales of in-app goods like new game levels.
Earlier this year, Google also rolled out its Android Design portal, offering developers insight into creating more stylish and appealing applications; the site offers multiple style and pattern components developed to foster more visually compelling and consistent apps that look and run the same across different Android devices. This month, Google additionally issued the Tablet App Quality Checklist, a resource designed to help developers build Android apps and games that meet the expectations of tablet owners.
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