Android and iOS app revenue gap continues to shrink

by: Andrew GrushDecember 24, 2013

best android apps

Not too long ago it was pretty much common knowledge that developer revenues were higher with iOS than Android. Recently however, the revenue gap has been shrinking fast and, according to a new report from BI Intelligence, we’re now at a point where Android developers earn about 90 cents for every $1 earned by iOS developers.

So what has caused the gap to decrease? There are actually quite a few factors involved here. For starters, roughly 80% of smartphones are running on Android, and number of Android tablets is continually on the rise.

Google has also been working hard to resolve perceived fragmentation issues, with more than 50% of Android devices now running Jelly Bean. For handsets that are still rocking Android 4.0 ICS and Android 2.x, you’ll also find that most major apps still work without a hitch and that quite a few core Google apps are now updated via Google Play services — making the actual Android version less important than it once was.

These combined factors mean that there is a huge audience for Android apps, and that developers no longer have to worry about whether or not they are targeting the right Android version, as more than half of the Android user base has made the jump to Android 4.0 or higher.

Not surprisingly, the dominant revenue source for Android app developers is advertising. Part of the reason is that ad rates are still lower on Android than iOS, and because free ad-driven apps are very popular among many Android users. In contrast, developers will find that premium apps and in-app purchases are still more profitable on iOS.


So what does all of this mean for developers and end-users? For developers it means that creating apps for Android has become nearly as lucrative of a business as creating iOS apps. For end-users, more revenue for developers will hopefully translate into more app makers creating high-quality Play Store apps.

Android and Google Play have both come a long way in a short amount of time. Now all we need is to see even more developers fully embrace tablet-optimized apps — luckily Google has already started making changes that should help things along.

To get an even deeper look at how iOS and Android revenue differs, be sure to check out the charts and additional report details from Business Insider.

  • apianist16

    I think the reason that iOS has the advantage is because they were the first to market with a real, integrated workable product. They cornered the market on games, and that always helps to sell devices. Now that Android has far surpassed iOS in market share, we are seeing things moving the other direction (why Android passed iOS is a whole different kettle of fish) and people are developing games for Android. It is similar to Windows vs. Mac. Windows got all the game developers on board with their OS, and that drove PC sales. Mac didn’t really consider games as an integral part of their marketing, and so they never enjoyed the huge success that Windows did. Face it, people play computer games, and if your OS doesn’t really do games, you will never be a real mass market success (I’m looking at you Ubuntu). That is why Windows has been and will remain on top. Maybe Steve Jobs didn’t play games.

    • Damian Paredes

      hmm hmm COUGH Steam suports linux COUGH

      • apianist16

        True, but what if you are like me and don’t use Steam? Also, how many major games like BF4 and AC IV will run on it?

        • Matthew Wypyszinski

          on steam or linux? lol

          • apianist16

            Linux. :) Most people I know who use Linux are either geeks or software engineers. Not the gamer types. No offense to anyone here meant.

        • Damian Paredes

          Yeah.. You are right.. I’m not a Hamer por a Linux usura (with the excepción of android) but a yeat ago a linux user onli could dream about the Gales toda y avaible trought steam.. and I see that Steam is commited to improve linux games support

      • Cole Raney

        It just got steam support not that long ago. The VAST majority of games are not compatible with Linux. Hell, a majority of games are not compatible with Mac OS. Pretty much every game is available for Windows. Any hardcore PC gamer has to have Windows.

      • Bogdacutu

        Steam might support Linux, but Linux doesn’t support games

    • gommer strike

      Another factor which worked out hugely in iOS’s favor in the beginning, is the fact that there just so much fewer variants of iOS devices, making it far easier to just build a game and not needing to account for as many as hundreds of different possible permutations of screen size, hardware, GPU, etc.

      But now that we’re starting to see some really quality Android OS’s being released, with and more and more of the lowest common denominator being at least ICS, this is good news.

      • apianist16

        Bingo! :)

      • Mozaik

        Tell that to rockstar

        • Jay Holm

          Rockstar? The energy drink?

    • Matthew Wypyszinski

      It helps what windows pc’s are still half to 3/4ths of an apple world wide >.>

  • AndroidBoss

    Android FTW.

    • Azeem

      I prefer Android to iOS for the most part, but I have used both for a while, and iOS is not too bad (given that my dad still runs iOS 6 (sucks it will be obsolete soon)).

      • AndroidBoss

        Android is my favorite, but I prefer iOS over Windows 8.

        • giggity

          I just switched to Android from iOS and I do prefer Android, iOS is a close second but Windows, sorry, but Microsoft can keep it.

          • devrindare

            I’m currently using Android and Windows phone. Windows is my secondary phone always. Well, I say that Windows phone is not that bad. But yeas, they’re far behind than Android and iOS. Android is great for versatility and multitasking and iOS for its class and looks. Microsoft has to do a lot to improve WIndows phone, cause they are also behind in updating their OS and adding features even though they getting continuous feedback to improve the OS.

          • Matthew Wypyszinski

            microsoft isnt too bad, ive used all three (although android definitely more than the other 2) and i can honestly say i prefer running microsoft to iOS just for the simple fact that i dont feel like i have training wheels on when im using microsoft. The main problem with windows is that there is a general lack of apps on there, a gap that will likely never recover just for the simple fact that they do not have enough users to make it worth the trouble of making apps.

          • AndroidBoss

            The main problem with windows isn’t just the apps, it’s the whole operating system; ugly and all you see is tiles. Also, you don’t have a notifications which you can swipe from the top of the screen. Therefore you have to scroll through all the junk to see your notifications. Windows 8 phones are just very boring.

  • Groud Frank

    Google still need to make GP gift cards accessible globally.

    • William Larsson

      … And all features included in the US Google Now, and services like Google Play Music/Magasines/and the store where you can buy devices straight from Google. Also bring better language recognition to other languagues than English.

    • Jay Holm

      Everything should be global. I’m sk sick of this market only or that market only, it doesn’t make any sense.

  • Disasterpiece

    Ad-driven free-mium apps vs paid premium apps. All this says to me is that developers know Android users are less willing to pay for apps as opposed to iOS users. As a person who uses both platforms, most apps on iOS are miles ahead in quality as opposed to the Android counterparts, especially Google’s own apps. However, as long as they are getting paid, it’s all good. And go!

    • Cao Meo

      Some apps for iOS are better not because freemium or premium, it’s because it’s easier to develop for iOS with few screen sizes while the number for Android is some thousands.

      But Google is addressing the problem and things will get better for Android very quickly.

  • Anthony

    I like android and prefer iOS over windows.

  • Justin

    As a devoted iOS user it is awesome the array of apps that are released first. It is easier to develop for iPhone. It’s easy as pie! There is essentially 2 models to develop for 4/4S with 3.5in screen with 512mb of ram and the 5/5C/5S 4inch 1GB of ram all of which are capable of running iOS 7. With Android you have screens from 3 inches to 6.5 inches different ram size and different Android OS’s. I do like Android quite a bit! I have a Nexus 7 (2012) and it still kicks butt with KitKat!

    • Cao Meo

      Well Android is popular because it offers choice which iPhone can’t.

      And developing for Android becomes easier too with new tools from Google

  • Bill Cat

    Have an HTMl5 app that I also wrap to run with native pluggins on both iOS and Android. Kik is using HTML5 tech for their app with over 100million users now on mobile. That way you can get web/ios/android/windows phone with resuse of about 70-80% of the code between platforms. Technology has improved big time on this since introduced about 2011 and am now giving it the thumbs up, still room for improvement though however I think as the word gets out the tech and tools have improved we will see more, especially now there is a third horse in the race with Windows Mobile.