Skip to main content

App Genome Project Compares the Android Market and iOS App Store in every way imaginable

Lookout Mobile Security has whipped up quite the report comparing both the Android Market and Apple's App Store in pretty much every way you can imagine -- and probably some you can't. Their "App Genome Project" (lets call it "AGP" from here on out) compared various metrics between Aug. 2010 and Feb. 2011 to get a six-month spread of data. The most basic comparison between the two is raw numbers of apps, which you can see in graph form above. The Android Market added 50k apps to reach about 90k during the time frame while the App Store added 100k to reach over 350k total apps.

On the dev side, just over four thousand developers were signed up for Android during the time period, while about 24 thousand were registered for iOS. Interestingly, the average number of apps per developer was higher on Android at 6.6 as opposed to 4.8 apps per developer on the iOS side. There is a ton more to go over, so join me past the break. [Lookout]

Another area the AGP investigated was the relative amounts of paid apps in each app library. It is well known that the Android Market is mostly comprised of free apps and has long been used to knock the platform as a whole. The AGP's numbers confirm this, but do show a huge growth in percentage of paid apps in the Android Market over the last six months. The share of paid apps jumped from about 22% to over 33% for more than a 50% growth. The App Store more or less held steady with just over two-thirds of all apps having a price tag. In addition, they noted that the average price of paid apps in the Android Market increased as the share of apps priced at $.99 or less dropped from 60% to 37%. Overall this is great news for the Android Market as it shows that higher-value applications are coming to Android in increasing numbers.

Another long-held idea about the Android Market is that in-app advertising is the way to go for most free apps. The data supports this to an extent as well, with nearly 42% of all free Android apps implementing AdMob's advertising APIs. AdMob had a 17.5% share in free iOS apps and Apple's own iAds platform had 15% adoption. The big winner here is Google, who recently bought AdMob and is perfectly happy with making money from both iOS and Android in-app advertising. 

Perhaps the most shocking data the AGP collected was the relative number of applications on both platforms that collected private information. A higher percentage of free iOS apps were found to have access to both your location (read: GPS) data and your contacts information than free Android apps. On the positive side, the percentage of total apps doing so saw drops in both the Android Market and the iOS App Store. Still, these numbers are probably too high so it is important to scan the permissions you give each application before installing it regardless of your platform of choice.

The final major comparison the AGP did was look at the composition of third-party application stores for both platforms. Unsurprisingly, the main purpose of the unofficial Android app stores was to provide support for regions that Google has yet to include in the Android Market. For iOS, the driving factor was providing a home for applications that required jail-breaking or were simply rejected by Apple's App Store curators. In both cases, the relative number of pirated applications was found to be quite low. However, many of these pirated apps were found to request more permissions than the original app so users of both iOS and Android should be cautious when using these third-party stores. Plus, you know, stealing is bad.   

Taken as a whole, there are some positives and negatives to be taken from these numbers. Apple's iOS platform is still the clear leader in the app space in nearly every major comparison -- total apps, number of developers, and share of paid apps. Still, Android has seen healthy growth in these areas, especially in the number of paid apps available. With over 300,000 Android devices being activated daily and the upcoming flood of Honeycomb tablets, it is likely Android will see a healthy boost in developer numbers and interest in the coming months. There are several more pretty graphs and more lovely hard numbers past the source link if you still want more detail. [Lookout]

Have you listened to this week's Android Central Podcast?

Android Central

Every week, the Android Central Podcast brings you the latest tech news, analysis and hot takes, with familiar co-hosts and special guests.

  • Android market is full of crap, they need to make more popular stuff come up first when I search for something. Always get korean crap
  • I completely agree. The problem is that devs, like webmasters, have gotten so good at SEO (Search Engine Optimization), usually by lying, that they appear for more than they should and when people click on them even if they aren't relevant they still get ranked higher. Google needs to do something about the market. Take a page from Apple but don't take the whole book. Find a middle ground so that we can have 'approved' apps yet still allow apps to forgo approval. Have these approved apps always appear first in search results.
  • Stop whining
  • Agreed Apple is eons ahead of Android on making sure the best apps are findable. Also I'm not sure why so many of the better apps aren't being ported over but Google needs to work that out.
  • There is a reason Apple has domination in the app market currently... as of this date last year, Android only had ~4% market share while Apple had a far greater share. Now that the market share of Android has increased dramatically, developers are taking notice of Android as now the user base is large enough to warrant them sales. What does this mean? That this year we should see an increase in the number of quality apps in the Android market. Developers follow the market share to determine which OS's they develop software for. I think the fact that Sony, Disney, and others are releasing apps for Android is a good sign and should only get better.
  • I don't have that problem
  • I hate lookout. They try to scare people into using a product they don't need...similar to the task-killing apps, but much worse. Now, they throw this bogus bull out and expect us to believe it. When I saw the stat on number of apps, I knew it was BS. Android has over 200,000 apps, and Apple has not reached 350,000. Go away lookout. You are not a trusted source, just because you think you are.
  • Even if that is correct, that's a lot more than Lookout's 90,000 figure.
  • Why isn't HP's webOS App Catalog compared here? Oh yeah, they only have 5369 apps. :P I upgrade from my Pre to an Evo tomorrow!! Woo Hoo!!! Can't wait!
  • If I were you I would wait. EVO2 will probably be out in a couple months
  • Nope, I was a "bleeding edge" person with the Pre. I will be happy to be living 6-8 months behind that edge from now on. I'll let others work all the kinks out. If the Evo 2 come out in June, I'll pick it up next February!
  • Welcome to the fold, I jumped from the Pre to the Evo last Sep once I learned the Pre 2 was releasing over the pond and only Verizon would get it later. Want to make sure you are keeping up on Sprint news though, unless you pay over $89 a month on a single plan, and have been with Sprint for over 10 years, you won't be able to early upgrade next FEB. You will have to wait 20 months. I think the EVO will do you fine for the next couple years though. The apps and capabilities are wonderful. The UI can sometimes be dissappointing compared to WebOS, but the bells, whistels, and sexiness of the EVO will make the pain all better. Plus, it's nice to not have to worry about a broken usb door, cracks from the micro usb port going across my screen, wanky oreo slider, dead power switch, stuck headphone jack, and scuffed up plastic screen. Did I miss any other hardware fails on the Pre?
  • Is there any official info on this Evo2?
  • what shape is your pre- in? i've had an EVO since november when my pre hardware was finally fubar, and i'd maybe be interested in buying your pre. you can PM me on here if it's in decent condition and at a good price.
  • I dont care how many apps they get, I only use like 10 - 15 & they are the popular one. I guess if you want a tetris game developed by a child in lithuania, then android is the way to go lol
  • The popular ones are all anybody uses. Android has every one of the top apps from iOS.
  • Thats what I thought too. so when I went for a tablet, I bought an ipad to see what the fuss with apple is all about, since I already have android covered with my evo4g. Apple has WAY better apps, especially if you are a gamer. But any type of app you look for, android vs apple, is usually alot more professional, integrated, and much better looking than any you find on android. And im not saying this because i'm a huge apple follower or anything either (my ipad is the only apple product I own). I hated apple, but couldnt get past how clear the graphics were and how smooth every thing worked on the ipad, and decided to give it a try, and see what apple was all about. To be honest I love the ipad and the apps that they have for it so much, that I almost want to switch to getting an Iphone 4 now that verizon has them, but think i'll hold off and stick with the evo for a while. Its kind of nice to have devices with both OS's, and be able to enjoy the best apps from both. On a side note, there is a way you can make the iphone 4 dual boot, and run android on it as well as ios which was almost a dealbreaker for me (the choice of either OS on 1 device would be awsome), but I do love the big screen on my evo, and decided to stick it out, and see whats coming, down the road.
  • Android need more QUALITY apps... google must do something on these in order to compete with other and stay competitive in the market.
  • I have like 20 non-stock apps on my phone, and for me that's a lot. There's really no need to use the quantity of apps in the various markets as a determination of "winning" or "losing".
  • The latest publicly-released number for Android activations per day is 350,000, not 300,000 :)
  • A good friend has an iPhone and we regularly compare apps. Seems that, on average, 95%+ are crap on both platforms. Let me launch this farting calculator app to calculate how many that means on each platform and ... he heh... it just kills me when I hit the decimal point.....
  • anyone need a high end app created Top A quality
    email me iphone/android , Company i work with has apps already in top 100 apps
  • Weddings
    Weddings Dresses
    Weddings Party Dresses
    Special Occasion Dresses
    Weddings Accessories
    Weddings Ceremony
    Weddings Favors
    Weddings Events
  • What's an app?
  • "It is well known that the Android Market is mostly comprised of free apps and has long been used to knock the platform as a whole." You used the word "comprised" incorrectly--I believe you meant "composed." If you're going to be a writer, use correct words.
  • Really?! This is not 1960. Rule usage for ‘compose’ over ‘comprise’ is hardly ever adhered to anymore. Writing is as much about understanding the intended contemporary audience as it is observing antiquated rule usage. I hardly think it is fair that you attack someone's writing ability over a rule that hasn't been adhered to since Kennedy was president. I know this isn’t my fight, but your condescending comment fired me up. Furthermore, I apologize if my comment is being received as condescending.
  • iOS does have a higher number of "quality" apps than Android, but I think there's more to the story. When you're looking for something specific on the iOS app store, rather than going by the "most popular" or "staff pick" recommendations on the main page, you uncover a tidal wave of pure crap so vast that I imagine maybe 95% of iOS apps are no better than Android. IMO the only real difference between the iOS and Android markets is a relatively small handful of key developers making better apps, and the iOS app store has mechanisms (staff picks, etc.) to use those better apps as varnish that hides the piles of purely crappy apps lurking beneath. They do this even if the app isn't a top seller, but they know it's a quality offering. The iOS app store curators can intervene and promote high quality apps, rather than everything being database driven and purely based on total sales like the Android store. This way, the list of top selling apps is more likely to ALSO include top quality apps since the high quality ones were given a helping hand by Apple, even if they weren't well promoted by the dev and/or got initially overlooked by users. If you go to the web-based Android market, they seem to be realizing that they need to do a better job of helping good devs promote their apps, rather than everything just being dropped down the app hole.
  • While there are dozens of apps I like and have tried, I only have about 10 that I keep on my Fascinate. I don't see any need to use up my phones memory and performance with apps I rarely use. I do have a list of apps saved on my phones notepad to use as a refernece in case I may ever need it in the future, but I only keep apps I use regularlly. This keeps my phone running at its best. I have friends that literally have 100+ apps and their phone is painfully slow, even with none of them really running in the background.
  • most of the apps on both plats are crap. its just filler for the numbers. most users on both platforms really just use like the same 100 or so apps between everyone else on that platform. You wont find too many people with those hot girl apps or farting camera apps. so, 150k apps or 300k apps, it doesnt matter. Its how many GOOD apps you have, and for that, they are probably pretty even. and for the rest.. at least the crap apps on android are free!!! :) ios makes u pay to play crap! :)
  • Most apps are crap, in both worlds.