Android said to have overtaken Apple in global mobile app downloads

Applications downloaded to Android devices in the second quarter surpassed the number apps downloaded from Apple’s iOS App Store. New data from market research and intelligence firm ABI Research shows that Android overtook iOS by a substantial margin in the June quarter, having been responsible for 44% of mobile app downloads around the world compared to iOS at 31%. “Android’s open source strategy is the main factor for its success,” said ABI researcher Lim Shiyang in a statement. “Being a free platform has expanded the Android device install base, which in turn has driven growth in the number of third party multi-platform and mobile operator app stores. These conditions alone explain why Android is the new leader in the mobile application market.” ABI notes that the shift can be partially attributed to Android’s rapid growth during the second quarter. Shipments of iOS devices grew just 9% between April and June compared to 15% in the first quarter, while global shipments of Android devices grew 36% in the June quarter compared to 20% a quarter earlier. Global application downloads this year are expected to reach 29 billion compared to just 9 billion in 2010. ABI’s full press release follows below.

Android Overtakes Apple with 44% Worldwide Share of Mobile App Downloads

SINGAPORE – October 24, 2011

In Q2 2011, Android overtook iOS to become the market share leader in mobile application downloads. The market shares of Android and iOS were 44% and 31%, respectively.

“Android’s open source strategy is the main factor for its success,” says Lim Shiyang, research associate. “Being a free platform has expanded the Android device install base, which in turn has driven growth in the number of third party multi-platform and mobile operator app stores. These conditions alone explain why Android is the new leader in the mobile application market.”

Recent quarterly shipment growth figures also explain Android’s ascent to the top app download position. iPhone shipment growth in Q2 2011 slowed to 9% from 15% a quarter earlier. In contrast, Android smartphone shipments increased 36% in Q2 2011, compared to 20% in Q1. Android’s install base now exceeds iOS by a factor of 2.4-to-1 worldwide; by 2016 this factor will grow to 3-to-1.

“Despite leading in total mobile application downloads, Android’s app downloads per user still lag behind Apple’s by 2-to-1,” adds Dan Shey, practice director, mobile services. “Apple’s superior monetization policies attracted good developers within its ranks, thus creating a better catalog of apps and customer experience.”

Global app downloads for year-end 2011 are expected to balloon to 29 billion, compared to only nine billion in 2010. Such stellar increases are largely due to the proliferation of smartphones around the world. The total smartphone install base is expected to grow 46% in 2011.

ABI Research’s “Mobile Applications Market Data” tracks mobile application downloads and revenues segmented by mobile operating system platform. The database includes historical data and forecasts for application downloads for all major mobile OSs. It also provides mobile application revenue forecasts and an overview of the major mobile application storefronts.

This study is a part of the firm’s Mobile Applications Research Service.

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