What makes a smart phone truly “smart”? Cellphone manufacturers can dazzle us with shiny new toys packed with the latest gadgetry, but without solid apps to back them up, these are merely empty shells that are only good for making calls.
Nokia and some of the previously popular phone makers of the past have simply gone the way of the dinosaurs. Unable to adapt to market changes, these have been relegated to playing catch up with two of the most widely used mobile phone platforms today – Android, and Apple’s devices, respectively.
The Numbers Game
With more mobile phones sporting the Android OS then ever before, it isn’t surprising to know that more developers are flocking to the Android Market. It’s all about numbers and the OS with the most users represent a bigger market. Apple still enjoys a considerable share of all paid apps being sold but this could be offset by the huge number of people downloading free apps from the Android Market.
It is no secret that the iTunes App store was launched much earlier, and Google’s Android Market has been hot on its heels ever since. Things have certainly changed and the Android Market has not only caught up with the iTunes App store but has even surpassed it. Simply put, there are more apps now available at the Android Market. And with a majority of these being free apps the Android Market is a better place to search for apps.
Free versus Paid apps
The first thing that I noticed is the number of free apps available for both platforms. The Android Market showed that 70 – 65 percent of all apps were free as compared to the iTunes App Store which only had 30 percent. When I got my first Android phone I was also genuinely surprised to find many great free apps. If there is one thing going for the iTunes App store it would be the high number of quality apps. But if I could get some the same apps for free at Android then I wouldn’t mind spending the extra time searching for the app.
Mike Sax, founder of Sax.Net, discusses the various development platforms available for mobile app developers. He analyzes the value and pitfalls for all of the major players in the mobile industry.
Many have said that the quality of apps at the iTunes App Store is far better compared to the Android Market. These is perhaps due to the fact the iTunes App store is geared more towards selling, and hence, the need for developing high quality apps. Quality has a price and this is holds true for both markets.
If you’re planning to develop apps for either market you should also consider the price of being a developer. Developers that choose to create apps for Apple’s ecosystem are charged $99 annually, while Android developers are charged nothing at all. That being said, according to GigaOm, developing on Android is a bit more challenging than developing for Apple’s devices, but it is designed to be open. As such, developers can develop on any major platform they choose, including Windows, Linux and even on a Mac.
Open versus Closed
A common complaint among iPhone App developers is that the system is completely controlled by Apple. Once an App is submitted there is no guarantee that it would ever see the light of day. Apple has been known to reject Apps for whimsical reasons, and is often known to put their own commercial interests first.
Apple has always kept a tight grip on what Apps are marketed in its App Store. However, the guys at Google have encouraged creativity among their developer base. There certainly is a greater chance for developers getting their apps to see the light of day on the Android Market compared to people who always have to get Big Brother’s (Apple) approval.
Android Market versus iTunes App Store
The quality and number of Apps will always be a major consideration when buying a smartphone. A huge part of Apple’s success has been built of the amount of apps available. The usefulness of an app can only be determined by the people who use it. There has been much hype about the quality of apps in the Apple’s App Store, but this is something that mobile phone users should be able to determine for themselves.
The number of apps available on the other hand is something that is measurable. It is here where the Android Market truly shines and with the option of having more apps to choose from, Android users will surely have a better chance of getting the apps they want.
How about you? Which App Market/App Store reigns supreme for you?