Despite Standards, Apple’s App Store Is Kicking Android’s Ass

AppShopper says Apple has approved 198,924 apps with 171,722 available to download. The discrepancy between the numbers accounts for apps that either the developers or Apple have removed from the App Store

This is an important point that few mention.

The above numbers mean that Apple has removed from the App Store roughly the same number as Android even has available. In other words, Apple is implementing some semblance of standards instead of just chasing a number, which is currently what the Android marketplace is all about.

And the Android marketplace has fart and flashlight apps, so don’t even go there.

Google has no issue with JB3 (“Jiggle Boobs Bikini Babe”) apps, and there’s also the need for multiple versions of the same app due to the fragmentation of the Android space.

Before you say this is the result of Google being “open”, let me point out that Google has no issue with yanking apps that get in the way of their business agreements. Open, my ass.

So let’s sum up. Even with Google’s lax standards and multiple versions of apps due to fragmentation, Apple’s App Store can be selective about what’s allowed and still stomp the Android marketplace into the dirt. Think about that the next time a Google or Android fan spouts app numbers.

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15 thoughts on “Despite Standards, Apple’s App Store Is Kicking Android’s Ass

  1. Really good comments here. For the record I am pushing against the team I lead ( I say team, 2 people) migrating an application to the Android platform after we have finished the iPhone and iPad versions.We have two aims.1) Monetization where possible.2) Mindshare of the underlying technology with a free version.Only in 2) could I be convinced that the Android be valuable, but I dont actually see that it gets more exposure from the tech press, and certainly not anybody else. I follow UK journalists, and TV personalities on twitter and they often mention a cool “app” they have.They dont mention the platform. They dont have to.Nobody really follows the tech geeks. They dont lead fashion, if they did Linux would rule.@Jared – I have played with Eclipse. What does it simulate? No device known to man – a rectangular device 2-3 times the size of the iPhone, with a not-quite square screen and a square keyboard. I gave up. It is slow, too.

  2. @bill:I probably should download the Android SDK and mess with the simulator (what device(s) does it simulate)? I could probably make quite a bit of progress porting my App without spending any money… if the simulator lets me change device profiles, for example.The other few reasons I’m not as interested in developing for Android: I don’t suspect there’s as much money to be made in Android market, and lastly, I’d rather work several other App ideas I have. Or I can extend my app with Version 2.0 features (and use that myself). Remember I have very limited time. But I will give more thought to Android.

  3. @Tom: I totally agree. Designing for side-loading is designing for $0 of revenue. Which is fine if that’s your goal, but many of the best Apps on the App Store are not free, which gives the developers resources to make the apps better and better. (Simplenote, Instapaper are the two non-free-as-in-beer Apps I’ve bought and use regularly. Really the only other non-built-in Apps I use regularly are The Weather Channel and Dictionary.com). So you are right, if the app can’t be sold on the Android Store (say, tethering) then it’s not really creating a market for rogue apps any more than Apple’s explicit rejection of such apps.

  4. Jared, Thanks for your comments. The word “open” is slung around by Android advocates for both uses. Usually it’s about being unrestricted in what developers can WRITE, but then it flips to what a user can LOAD when the former argument is refuted (i.e., it’s shown that Google DOES block apps). To me, the side load issue is a red herring. No developer who wants to be successful getting his apps in use is going to rely on a user side-loading. That’s the geek method. If Android takes off as a platform probably 98% of its users will go to the marketplace to get their apps. Period. They will not be looking elsewhere. That’s how phone apps for other phones such as RIM and WinMo have been sold for years, with little real success.

  5. Jared,You have valid concerns but it does seem to me that fragmentation is your issue. You mentioned this is a hobby thing where there is no budget, and you choose Apple. You must develop for the iPhone/iPod from the Mac OS so I assume you already have an Apple computer? Otherwise the cheapest you you will get by is $600 for a mac mini then there is the $100 developer cost just to get the app on your devise. So you are at $700 without the $2-300 for the iPod.As for an Android devise you could temporally (Same with iPhone) use an emulator then you could but a used phone of craigslist or ebay. But if you are interested in a non-phone devise you could look at the Zii egg (http://www.zii.com/Developer/Landing.aspx) but that will set you back $400.But if you already have a Mac and the iPod all you need to come up with is $100 and you do not need to switch off to another devise.

  6. @bill:Simple: if I even had an Android device (say, I borrow my brother’s Samsung), sure, my app will be tested on that one device, but I don’t own any other devices to test it on. With my iPod touch, I “own” an iPhone testing device: my iPod touch.Remember, my iPhone app is an outside hobby thing since I have a job doing something completely unrelated (Windows, .NET). I have no budget for device purchases/cancelling contracts, etc. (Is there even a nice multitouch Android handset that’s not a phone, with no contract? I suppose the Nexus one sells unlocked but I don’t have the money to purchase and develop for that 😦 ) On the other hand, if worked on, for example, mobile web apps, I would expect the business I worked for to provide loads of devices for testing.The original iPhone and iPod touch are years old (mid and later 2007) yet for most purposes I can assume that even those devices, 24 to 36 years old, will be running iPhone OS 3.0; if not I have reason to believe that my app will still work the same on 2.0 or earlier devices. Do normal joes actually upgrade their Android OSes? for all carriers? for all users? Is this even a safe assumption?Besides the device purchase issue, my App will use multitouch for simple things like flick to scroll, pinch, zoom. I am not interested in developing any apps without these elements, or refactoring to account for their lack, missing fonts, for screen size, etc. That is precisely the reason I’m making my app—to take advantage of these, to make something I want for my own use (it just so happens that 75 million people have a similar device and my app will work the same with no changes on those devices). If Apple’s ecosystem were the same fragmented way as Android, I would just develop for my target device (whatever I happened to own) and then leave users of other devices to … their own devices. But I don’t have to.So yes, Android may provide ways to compromise an App to make it work on different smaller devices or whatever, but I feel the value for my app derives from the UI/UX almost solely. I don’t really need to sell yet another Category-X app on the app store— except I feel I can provide a better UX, utilizing the touch screen in better ways than existing Category-X apps.Realistically, Android should never have shipped anything other than a mandatory, consistent, multitouch OS. That is my feeling anyway, and Apple is proving the wisdom of setting the bar high.

  7. Jared,That is interesting that you as a developer are choosing to develop for the iPhone/iPod market and not Android because of fragmentation. Usually I hear this from the uninformed non developers. Can you tell me what about the fragmentation issue that is hindering the development of your app on Android? Because I know that I can develop an app that can work a crossed most of the Android devises. From the small screens to the large screens or from older versions to newer versions. Maybe with an exception of some new api’s in the newer releases but that will be only a matter of time before the older devices will get updated. Considering it takes a year to get a major update out of Apple those on older versions of Android will wait a lot less than that. 2.1 has only been out for two months and most phones that are on 1.5 and 1.6 have only been on the market for a little over 6 months.

  8. I meant that I plan to sell on the App Store and not the Android store because Android is fragmented and App Store users are willing to shell out money.

  9. You are correct that the Android Store is not really open (and neither are Google’s proprietary apps, which is part of what makes the Google phones worthwhile) but I disagree that that is what is being described by the word “open”. With Android you have the option to side-load apps but with the iPhone you must jailbreak to do this; Apple is getting closer and closer to making jailbreaking completely impossible with every security update. With Android, the system is designed to allow power users or developers to “flip a switch” and start sideloading apps.All that being said, I use an iPod touch that has not been jailbroken, I have no intention to jailbreak it, and I am actively developing an iPhone/iPod touch app that I plan to sell on the App Store because the market is fragmented, the users are willing to shell out money, etc. For the worthwhile parts of my app that can or should be open sourced, I can still do that.I also agree with everyone else who says this: the iPhone/iPod touch are designed for the general human and not the tech nerd who wishes to tinker with their device and that is a major part of their success.

  10. iphonerulez,”I can almost picture Google giving up on Android in a year or two after it becomes nearly impossible to manage.”The thing is, Google doesn’t care about managing the platform. They have no incentive to. All they want is the ads and the eyeballs to see them. Millions of Android handsets accomplish the same thing to Google whether they’re fragmented all over the place or offer a similar user experience.

  11. Most important reasons are:Android buyers think it’s open source – why would they pay for apps.Android phones only have @500 MB for apps unlike an iPhone in theory @32 GB/Touch @64 GB/ipad@64 GB.EVery iPhone can be upgraded to the latest firmware and OS free. Android phone can be upgraded but THEIR PHONE STORE may not be. Lots of headaches for developers.For every Android re-seller is an app store. Unlike ONE store for all iPhone/iPad & Touch users.

  12. It’s only the know-it-all tech geeks that are unhappy with Apple’s mobile platform. The regular iPhone and Touch consumer is happy to live within Apple’s “walled garden” where they feel secure. Despite the fact that Apple rules with an iron fist over developers, the developers keep on coming because they know where the money is to be made. Android development is just going to give them more work due to all the various OS firmware and the multitude of hardware provided by all those Android smartphone vendors each trying to outdo one another. I can almost picture Google giving up on Android in a year or two after it becomes nearly impossible to manage.The tech-geeks don’t matter at all when it comes to running a solid platform. There isn’t enough of them to matter. Platforms should always be for the good of the majority over the few users that seem to think they should be in charge. Geeks are only concerned about themselves and how much they can tinker with their toys. The normal consumer only wants a device they can really depend on. They don’t need to live on the bleeding edge like tech-heads do.Who cares what Google does with Android since they’re not making any money off the platform, anyway. Let those geeks customize the kernel or interface to make a bigger mess of it. Normal consumers will eventually look for a more stable platform and they’ll find that with Apple’s controlled and restricted OS. Apple has already shown that a restricted platform isn’t a great impediment to overall sales. Take that Nexus One smartphone that supposedly does and has everything a geek loves. Google can barely give that device away to regular consumers so what’s the point of all the openness.

  13. Googles market is not open. Oh and BTW the Google market is not the only way to install apps onto the phone unlike Apple.

  14. Also this – the real reason the Android market will not take off is Android appeals to the “Free as in Beer” community. Admittedly it is hard to get the iPhone consumer to pay as well, but the monitizable market in Android is zero. So none of the companies making big money are moving there as far as I can see ( Tapolous, for example)

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