updated 09:05 am EDT, Fri May 27, 2011
Distimo shows Android still poor in paid apps
A new Distimo study on Friday has revealed that Android is still much more difficult to survive for developers of paid apps than iOS. Research found that 79.3 percent of paid apps on Google's platform have been downloaded fewer than 100 times, and even 19.6 percent of free apps were just as marginal. Paid apps were also much less likely to be popular than in Apple's shop: where only two paid Android apps had passed 500,000 downloads worldwide for their whole lifespan, there were six iPhone apps that had managed that amount just in two months of US sales.
The situation in games further illustrated the point, according to Distimo. Only five Android games had over 250,000 lifetime downloads, but 10 iPhone games managed the same in two months when only including their US sales.
Android developers' likelihood of reaching the top spot on the charts was similarly low. Among the top 10 free or paid, only 26 Android apps reached that position in April, suggesting that the charts were largely static. Some of these were built-in Google apps, such as Maps, that had been broken out as separate apps for updating. On iOS, 94 apps met the same criteria and led to a better chance of overall discovery.
Expanding to the top 300 in each category, there were only 388 free and 363 paid unique apps on Google's OS store, but there were 843 free and 584 paid apps in those ranks on iOS.
Some of the emphasis on free Android apps over paid may have been attributable to business models. In part owing to doubt that Android is profitable, titles like Angry Birds use ads as their primary revenue and now turn to in-app purchases. Google's own approaches have also been blamed: its charts are often international and focused on long-term performance, rendering it much less probable that a new app will break through. Categorization has also been historically poor where Apple has made it a point to surface more newer apps.
Hopes exist that Google will turn its fortunes around with its newest remake of the Android Market layout. While its design is meant to expose more and newer apps, it also has a more visual layout meant to draw attention to specific apps.