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Android Market Hits 10 Billion Downloads, Games Dominate 178

Posted by Soulskill
from the bored-begets-big-numbers dept.
New submitter sandeepabhat tips news that Android Market recently saw its 10 billionth app download, reaching the milestone less than a year after the App Store accomplished the same feat. New downloads through Android Market are proceeding at a rate of roughly 1 billion per month. Google has now created an infographic to break down the information further. Games outpace any other type of app, accounting for more than a quarter of all downloads. The top five countries in downloads-per-capita are South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the U.S., and Singapore.
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Android Market Hits 10 Billion Downloads, Games Dominate

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  • Paid Vs. Free? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stating_the_obvious (1340413) on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:36AM (#38314342)
    How about a breakout of paid versus free and some idea of who's making money developing for the Andriod platform?
    • Re:Paid Vs. Free? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:40AM (#38314378)
      Google. Period.
    • Re:Paid Vs. Free? (Score:5, Informative)

      by InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:43AM (#38314410)
      Android apps and games are mostly free, and ad-supported. Mobile developers quickly learned that piracy on Android is much larger problem than on iPhone and that they couldn't just sell their software. That was the reason they started offering games for free and getting the revenue from advertisements. It goes well along the lines with Google too, who also recently bought the largest mobile advertising house AdMob [admob.com].

      This also means that people of course download way more apps too.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Also, you make much more money on ads. Instead of getting a one-time payment of 99, they get continuous flow of money for much longer.

      • Re:Paid Vs. Free? (Score:4, Informative)

        by salesgeek (263995) on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:47AM (#38314468) Homepage

        Um... you were doing great until you hit the piracy part. That isn't why apps are less expensive on Android. The issue is that Android's market (small m market) are competitive because there are multiple ways consumers can buy (Google, Amazon, etc)

        • Huh? The price for a app doesn't vary from market to market for a single app. Its not like Google or Amazon sets the price the dev does. Its more like people on Android phones don't want to buy, they want free. They are buying a cheaper phone compared to others, they are not looking to pay much for apps either. Piracy is easier on the Android since you can load your own apps not in the market.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            It's called common sense. You get apps for a large price that you find on the iphone as well, then you find some apps that do the exact same thing cheaper, and you can find again other apps that do the very same thing but for free, sponsored by ads or something else. Why would I buy some app when I can get it for free, or so cheap I can buy dozens more instead of just a very expensive one.
            The fact that there are so many price ranges, business models and markets, speaks in Android's favour. That's competitio

          • Re:Paid Vs. Free? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by gl4ss (559668) on Friday December 09, 2011 @10:26AM (#38314878) Homepage Journal

            why would you pay for something that you know is available for free and took some guy couple of weeks of spare time to create? a _LOT_ of apps fall into this category. for example the "enable/disable wifi-hotspot"-widget that i'm using. it's such a basic thing, really, it should come with the os itself. even if you made a paid version of it, how are you going to differentiate to justify anyone paying for it?

            you should rephrase it that piracy is easier on android since you don't have to pay the os provider to enable sideloading, as is with other some other platforms(ios, wp7, bb..).

            "cheaper" implies there's something more expensive out there though. wp7's are in the same price brackets, you don't really pay much for the os there either. apple sells iphones that are not of the latest generation too if you want "cheap" and high end androids cost about the same as the most fresh iphone at any given day anyhow(about 750-800 bucks).

            and a lot of the cool stuff that's worth warezing is based on stolen gpl code anyways!

            • by tlhIngan (30335)

              you should rephrase it that piracy is easier on android since you don't have to pay the os provider to enable sideloading, as is with other some other platforms(ios, wp7, bb..).

              Incorrect. Piracy is easier on Android because it's trivial to get APKs off the platform, and APKs are not DRM-encumbered (unlike say, Amazon APKs). Other platforms like this include WebOS.

              iOS, WP7 DRM the files - that's why you can download apps via iTunes or Zune Market and install them on your phone from your PC (really useful for

        • I think you'll find you're wrong. Most people aren't going to be loading in other markets or rooting their phone. They're doing to use it how they've learned to use it from the guy at the shop or from the manual and that's it. Younger and more tech savy people will have less money which means they won't go to amazon, they'll steal it.
      • Re:Paid Vs. Free? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:49AM (#38314506)

        Mobile developers quickly learned that piracy on Android is much larger problem than on iPhone and that they couldn't just sell their software.

        This certainly isn't true for me. I used to pirate all kinds of apps for Windows Mobile and for PC, but with Android it's easier to pay 99 cents for an app and get perpetual updates than to bother trying to pirate an app and keep it updated. Kind of like STEAM. I've bought a lot of apps already and I plan to buy almost all of the apps that are going on sale for 10 cents this week.

      • True but that is also why Android apps are generally shittier than iPhone apps because actually ad revenue isn't that awesome for anyone but Google.
    • As others have mentioned, being free doesn't mean not monetised. For example, I remember Rovio a while back announcing that it was making more money through ad revenue from the free versions of its games on Android than the paid versions on iPhone.
      • As others have mentioned, being free doesn't mean not monetised. For example, I remember Rovio a while back announcing that it was making more money through ad revenue from the free versions of its games on Android than the paid versions on iPhone.

        Yes, they were making about as much money from new sales on iOS as they did from people playing their already downloaded ad supported apps on Android.

        • by Algae_94 (2017070)
          You're trying really hard to twist that fact to a pro iOS slant, but it's not working. More money on Android (ads or from wherever) is better than less money off iOS. Unless there is another piece of data that hasn't been said that the total of iOS is higher because of the purchase plus ads, but I see no mention of that.

          Let's not forget ad revenue will continue as long as people use the aps, but people only buy the aps once.
          • You're trying really hard to twist that fact to a pro iOS slant, but it's not working. More money on Android (ads or from wherever) is better than less money off iOS.

            That was a good one - accusing me of "twisting a fact" while pretending that "making about the same" means more money on Android.

    • by Zebra1024 (726970)
      The good thing about AD supported applications is the developer makes money if people actually use the application (not buy it). This should encourage better applications and improvements over time to encourage users to keep using the application.
  • by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:42AM (#38314396) Homepage

    Just in case anyone hasn't noticed, Google are celebrating by making selected apps are available for 10 cents for the next few days (it started a few days ago so there's something like 7 days to go).

    The selection changes each day so it's worth having a look. I picked up Toki Tori today.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      is google paying the difference to the devs, or is this similar to amazon's daily free app thing? (in which the store just gives stuff free, devs get nothing)

      • I would assume it's like the steam sales, where the dev agrees to sell their app for crazy cheap (because a download doesn't cost them any money) and the number of sales explodes so they end up making more money.

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:47AM (#38314478) Homepage Journal

    The other day in another thread someone touted the "obvious" superiority of iPhone over Android. I called him on it, asking what would make the iPhone wrth its higher asking price. The only answer he could come up with was "app availability." (note, I was in a Sprint store yesterday triying to get my phone fixes, and it appeared some Androids cost more than iPhones, but that may have been part of the cantract, with the iPhone subsidized)

    It looks like he was trolling. But I am curious, guys, wht with this thread and all, which one has more apps? More important, which one has more apps that are actually useful? If iPhone has 2 million apps and Android has 1.5 million apps, but 1.5 million iPhone apps are all Angry Birds clones, the "iPhone has more apps" would be a red herring; they're not all useful.

    Note that these numbers aren't real, they're only illustrations. I'd really like to know which platform is better, iPhone or Android? How well are each built (and I realize that Android's quality is probably all over the board, since there are many different manufacturers).

    And does the difference between phone company crippling make the question of Apple vs Android moot?

    • Re:iPhone vs Android (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Toe, The (545098) on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:53AM (#38314532)

      At some point, app count becomes irrelevant.

      First, most good apps are on both platforms, right? But more importantly, how many thousand apps can you run on your phone? And specifically, how many thousand barcode readers do you need, for example? Quantity of apps seems quite irrelevant, especially when there is so much redundancy.

      From my experience, the distinction between the iPhone and Android is about interface. Maybe it is just because I am more used to the iPhone, but when using an Android, I find the experience to be downright hostile. It is as if I have to fight the interface to get it to do what I want.

      With the iPhone, I feel like it is working with me. There is no doubt that sometimes the iPhone tries to be "too smart" and do stuff for me that I'd rather it not do. But on the balance, I find everything about its interface to be smoother, more elegant, and a much more pleasant/productive experience.

      Given that both systems have basically the same feature set and basically the same apps, interface and industrial design are the major distinguishing factors.

      Price seems like a rather minor factor. At least in the US, price of the phone is nothing compared to the price of the service.

      • But more importantly, how many thousand apps can you run on your phone?

        Some apps are system sellers. To take an example from another market, if you want Super Smash Bros. Brawl, it doesn't matter how many games the Xbox 360, PLAYSTATION 3, and PC can run; you need a Wii. I don't own an iPhone and am therefore not familiar with the apps considered system sellers on that platform, but I imagine that they exist.

        And specifically, how many thousand barcode readers do you need, for example?

        If the device that you already own or can afford has a fixed focus lens, then barcode readers that require an autofocus lens won't work. For example, Google's barcode scan

        • Some apps are system sellers. To take an example from another market, if you want Super Smash Bros. Brawl, it doesn't matter how many games the Xbox 360, PLAYSTATION 3, and PC can run; you need a Wii. I don't own an iPhone and am therefore not familiar with the apps considered system sellers on that platform, but I imagine that they exist.

          I don't think the platform killer-game analogy works with iOS versus Android. Nearly everything is developed for both platforms, and in the rare case that one is not available on the other, there are hundreds of alternatives.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        But more importantly, how many thousand apps can you run on your phone?

        That's an excellent question; how many apps can fit on each phone? And I also wondered why both platforms need apps when a computer can just use the web site for most things (radio stations are the first to come to mind). Why do you need (for instance) a Google Maps app when all you should have to do is surf to Google?

        Maybe it is just because I am more used to the iPhone, but when using an Android, I find the experience to be downright h

        • Re:iPhone vs Android (Score:4, Interesting)

          by stewbacca (1033764) on Friday December 09, 2011 @11:43AM (#38315770)

          Why do you need (for instance) a Google Maps app when all you should have to do is surf to Google?

          I find most embedded apps to be better than their web counterpart on any smartphone/tablet device.

          • by Algae_94 (2017070)
            I agree with you that most apps are better than their web counterparts currently, but this doesn't have to be the case.

            It's trivial to check the user agent and redirect a user to a mobile friendly version of the website with a much better layout for phones. Or in the case of some sites, IMDB comes to mind, when I browse to the site with an Android device, it prompts me that there is a native app and gives me a link to go get it, or I can go to the mobile friendly version of the website.

            For more complex a
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        My experience with interface is the reverse; I struggle to get iOS to do what I want, while Android makes perfect sense to me and operates smooth as a whistle (smoother, since whistles have little holes in them to make the sounds). This leads me to believe that as far as the interface of the two goes, it really is just personal preference and what you're used to, rather than a clear-cut "one is definitively better than the other" situation.

      • by nahdude812 (88157) *

        It's interesting that you feel iOS interface is easier to use. I suspect this is more about habituation and accustomisation to your current platform's UI tendencies than it is about one UI paradigm being markedly better than the other.

        By way of support, I'll say that I first had an iPhone (3G), and got a Nexus One after that. I felt lost for a little bit using the Android UI, but after a few days, I had the hang of it. Now when I go back and use iOS, it's like every app puts the Back button in a differen

    • by jo_ham (604554)

      If "app availability" was all he could come up with then he wasn't thinking hard enough, although ultimately the choice between iOS and Android is largely one of personal preference assuming you get a decent Android phone, although Apple closed the gap a little on the cheap Android handsets by keeping the 3GS around and discounting it.

      I personally prefer the iOS app market, but it suits my needs just fine. YMMV.

      One platform is no better than the other - I think iOS is slightly more polished, but it's mainly

    • And does the difference between phone company crippling make the question of Apple vs Android moot?

      For one thing, all phones with Android Market have Android Debug Bridge, letting the user sideload over USB. For another, half a year ago, AT&T relented and reenabled "Unknown sources" due to overwhelming customer demand for Amazon Appstore.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        For one thing, all phones with Android Market have Android Debug Bridge, letting the user sideload over USB.

        Interesting, can you sideload over bluetooth or wifi as well? That would be a big selling point for me, I bought bluetooth dongles for both my computers (the cat lost the dongle for the notebook, it was on a table and when I got home the stuff was on the floor, dongle missing, damned cat must have used it for a toy) to transfer photos, recorded sound, movies, etc from my dumb qwerty phone.

        • by tepples (727027)
          Android Debug Bridge over Bluetooth was not supported as of July [stackoverflow.com]. But if you have "Unknown sources", and pretty much all carriers' phones do by now, you can copy APKs to your phone over Bluetooth and install them from a file manager.
    • The other day in another thread someone touted the "obvious" superiority of iPhone over Android. I called him on it, asking what would make the iPhone wrth its higher asking price. The only answer he could come up with was "app availability." (note, I was in a Sprint store yesterday triying to get my phone fixes, and it appeared some Androids cost more than iPhones, but that may have been part of the cantract, with the iPhone subsidized)

      No, many of the latest Android phones cost the same as the latest iPhone. As for older models they may be cheaper, but they don't receive OS upgrades as often if at all.

      It looks like he was trolling. But I am curious, guys, wht with this thread and all, which one has more apps? More important, which one has more apps that are actually useful? If iPhone has 2 million apps and Android has 1.5 million apps, but 1.5 million iPhone apps are all Angry Birds clones, the "iPhone has more apps" would be a red herring; they're not all useful.

      Note that these numbers aren't real, they're only illustrations. I'd really like to know which platform is better, iPhone or Android? How well are each built (and I realize that Android's quality is probably all over the board, since there are many different manufacturers).

      And does the difference between phone company crippling make the question of Apple vs Android moot?

      I would say Apple probably has more higher quality apps but that's also because Apple has more pay-for apps. Android has more free apps that are ad supported or games that are free to play but try to sell you in game upgrades. I have noticed recently some of the bigger name mobile developers that were previously iOS only have started port

    • Who cares which one has more apps? This is the same argument as the mid-90s "Windows is better than Mac because there's more software" argument. Exactly how many word processors do we need again?

    • Whatever you value more. I value compliance with open standards and customizability. As far as markets go, android market is better for me because I need only a browser to automagically install an app to my phone. App store requires iTunes for that for which I need to set up Windows somewhere (or buy a mac).

      Having compared both platforms, there are other points favouring android in my eyes:
      - network management in iphone is horrible compared to andorids
      - It is more convenient for me to charge with external c

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        You should be in sales, you just sold me on Android. Of course, I was leaning that way anyway, but what you listed is what I'm looking for. I'm running Linux on my main computer, and I have no desire to install iTunes after seeing it on other people's computers (shudder).

  • ...if it were not for the fragmentation that has reared its head in Android land.

    After dismissing this issue, Google, I thought, appeared to be creating a solution with ICS 4.0. It seems I am under some kind of delusion. How can Google expect to be a force of change if Android devices are as numerous as OEMs in both hardware and software? It defeats my understanding.

    • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex@Nos ... t-retrograde.com> on Friday December 09, 2011 @10:13AM (#38314722)

      Perhaps it would be easier to keep all the phones up to date if the Microsoft Patent Licensing deal didn't involve renegotiation for each new Android version that you want to install on the phone...

      Oh hey, guess what? MS charges LESS for a full install of WP7 than their bogus Android license fees. This is the same sort of behavior that got them in anti-competitive trouble LAST TIME. Funny how immediately after their DOJ anti-trust oversight expires, the ramp up the anti-competitive practices.

      I hope B & N tears them a new one. [groklaw.net]

      • It wouldn't be easier or harder because the fees are not the reason. The reason is the manufactures don't want you to upgrade the OS, they want you to upgrade the phone. It's planned obsolescence.

      • There may be some truth to that but the real reason is if you phone will do all the new stuff you won't buy a new phone as soon so even before this whole MS thing reared its head Android phones weren't updated for long or if at all.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      what fragmentation?

      just make your app for 2.2 - test that it works with high dpi tablets, maybe make a different layout for them if you feel like it. and bam, you're there. less fragmentation than on ios by now. if your app is targeted at doing some device specific shenigans by running things in the linux-side, I guess there's more fragmentation. for most kind of apps there's not really that much fragmentation to talk about, unless you count varying resolution as fragmentation.

      (granted, you can make things

  • Have they given a way to use an old version of the Marketplace yet? Trying to do so normally just results in the app auto-updating itself.
    The current application is so slow and unresponsive that it is virtually unusable on an N1 with more than, say, 8 apps installed.
    It's been like this for the past two or three revisions.

    • The Android market is awful imo. When Angry Birds came out I tried finding out if it would run on my G1. There is no definitive answer and certainly not in the market where you would expect it. So I decided to try downloading anyway. Nothing said I couldn't run it in fact it just didn't download and gave an error implying it's a network issue and to try again. That happened on wifi too and if I tried to download apps I knew I could run there was zero problems.

      Google sucks at customer support so naturally
  • by ZombieBraintrust (1685608) on Friday December 09, 2011 @10:00AM (#38314608)
    I like this metric better than the old "number of apps" metric. I'm sure all the wallpapers, quizes, and sound boards don't add up to many downloads.
  • after Apple announced 50% more downloads. And likely a few days before Apple hits 20M.
    • In a few days, or maybe already. They were on 18 billion in October, and increasing at about a billion a month.

      i.e. iIn the last year there have been as many iOS app downloads as in the entire life of Android.

  • I hardly bother looking for stuff on the android market anymore, the splash page when you hit it is a giant
    "OMG DON'T CLICK AND BUY ACCIDENTLY"

    I just try to menu to updates and (after checking comments) update.

    Amazon's app of the day has been actually pretty cool.

    I like having choices for which market(s) I use.

    If you add in amazon, and other markets, I think probably more downloads than apple...

  • I have an android phone, so I've been enjoying this since I first heard about it. Was sad that I missed the first day, but what can you do? The biggest gripe I'm having now though is that Google will not even let me buy some of the apps on sale here today or yesterday. Keeps on saying my current phone is not compatible with the app.

    So? Does Google think that I will never upgrade my phone? Or that just because I do not currently have an Android tablet I will never get one?

    Please just let me buy the app

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