The Android Market has reached 10 billion total downloads since its launch, and it looks like the number of downloads per month are already as many as the iOS (1 billion), which means it will soon surpass the Apple app store in downloads per month.
There’s still the issue if developers make as much money on Android as they do on iOS, and there have been many reasons in the past why they couldn’t make as much, but one by one those issues are being eliminated. For example, at first, Android just didn’t have such a huge user base, so obviously it couldn’t have made as much money for the developers. Now the user base is almost as big. Apple still has about 50 million ahead, thanks to the iPad, but Android is growing much faster than iOS devices, so it will catch-up and surpass it there, too.
Then there was the issue with paid apps not even being available in as many countries as the iOS paid apps. At one point I thought Google was doing that intentionally to promote the free apps with ads model instead, because Google doens’t make money from the paid ones. They do take 30%, but they give it away to the carriers or manufacturers. Fortunately, lately they’ve been expanding the paid apps in many countries, too, although I still think they have a way to go until they are everywhere.
The next issue that developers were complaining about was that the Android Market wasn’t enabling users to easily discover new good apps. So this was a problem for both the users and the developers. I remember I couldn’t believe how Google, a web company, wasn’t even making a proper website for the Android Market in the beginning, not to mention there was no app search in there! It took them 2 years before they even got to that. It was obvious it was’t even in their top 10 priorities.
The Market has been greatly improved since then, but they still have some work to do, like making showing exactly which apps are optimized for tablets. And speaking of tablets, Google really needs to push developers hard to create tablet apps. This is vital, and the Android tablet market might never reach its true potential if Google doesn’t do something about this, and fast – like a few months fast. Otherwise they could risk losing the tablet market forever.
The latest issue developers have been having with the Android Market is that Google just doesn’t have as many credit cards on file as Apple does (thanks to the iTunes accounts), or even Amazon. The “old” Google under Eric Schmidt used to get involved with a lot of projects, but then sort of forget about many of them.
This was the case with Google Checkout, too. They never really pushed it to become a true Paypal alternative. They tried doing it at first, and then sort of forgot about it. This has been a huge disadvantage so far in the mobile world, or rather a huge lost opportunity, because they could’ve used Google Checkout accounts to get people to buy apps from the Android Market, and please developers as well.
It would’ve been a huge help to have a ton of Google Checkout accounts with the launch of NFC payments and Google Wallet, too. But now they have to start everything from scratch, and catch-up with Paypal, Amazon and Apple, and do it fast. They’ve started addressing this with Android 4.0, where they ask you from the set-up of the phone about your credit card information.
They are also starting to offer some games and apps for only $0.10, hoping that people who haven’t used their credit card yet, will want to take advantage of these huge discounts, and fill in the credit card info in their Google Wallet account (former Checkout). Here are some of the apps they are offering now for $0.10: