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Android Market hits 100K apps as smartphone market keeps rolling

Oct 27, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive
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Google announced that the Android Market for smartphone and tablet applications reached the 100,000 application mark on Oct. 25, one week after the Apple iOS App Store topped 300,000. Meanwhile, ABI Research lists both operating systems as driving an “exploding” global smartphone market that grew 50 percent year-over-year in the second quarter.

Google's Android developer team tweeted that the Android Market had reached the 100,000 app mark on Oct. 25, writes Clint Boulton at our sister site, eWEEK. (One recently updated app shown at right is Amazon's Kindle for Android app.)

A week ago, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said the Apple App Store, which offers applications built for the iOS-based iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, had ballooned to 300,000 applications, says the story.

Piling on, the Windows phone gadget blog WPCentral announced that the new Windows Phone Marketplace hit 1,000 apps just two weeks after Windows Phone 7's launch along with the unveiling of forthcoming Windows Phone 7 handsets from AT&T and T-Mobile, writes Boulton.

According to an Information Week story, meanwhile, Nokia boasts 16,000 applications, Research in Motion's BlackBerry App World sports 10,000-plus apps, and Palm's App Catalog for the recently upgraded WebOS and new Palm Pre 2 falls just under 5,000 apps, says the story.

Boulton calculates the total of all six mobile app platforms to be over 430,000 applications.

What's it all mean? Not much, says Boulton in an opinion piece where he pleads, "Stop the numbers game madness!"

While theoretically, app growth shows market momentum, journalists tend to overemphasize it, writes Boulton. The app count hype often "forsakes quantity for quality," he adds. "Most of those applications are created because developers can build them," writes Boulton. "Most of the apps just aren't used, and most aren't that good."

This is particularly true of Android Market, which "is particularly notorious for high-levels of spam and piracy," writes Boulton. Inadequate payment infrastructure is another problem, although Google appears to be working on it, and may possibly partner with PayPal on the project.

By comparison, Apple's App Store "gets the gold star for quality," writes Boulton, but adds that it also deserves a "gold star for Draconian developer policies."

In any event, Boulton argues, "no one platform really needs 300,000 apps." He goes on to write, "Choice is all well and good, but does anyone really need 50 types of Twitter clients?"

ABI: Torrid smartphone market driven by Android and Apple

ABI Research released a study saying that the "exploding" global smartphone market grew 50 percent during the second quarter year-over-year, according to a second eWEEK story, this time by Michelle Maisto. Smartphones constituted 19 percent of all handsets shipped during the quarter — a 12 percent jump from the first quarter, says the story.

The market is being driven by strong sales from Apple's iPhone, as well as by HTC, primarily with Android phones. Meanwhile, Research in Motion (RIM) is growing more slowly, but also continues to rake in the revenue with its BlackBerry models.

Apple shipped 8.4 million iPhones in the second quarter, approximately three million of which were the iPhone 4, resulting in a quarter-on-quarter growth of 68 percent, says the story.

Taiwan-based HTC, which is increasingly focused on using Android in smartphones, saw shipments grow from 3.3 million to 5.3 million handsets. HTC Android phones that debuted in the second quarter include Verizon's Droid Incredible (pictured above right), and Sprint's Evo 4G (below left). 

RIM, which launched its newest OS, BlackBerry 6, saw shipments grow from 10.5 to 11.2 million, a figure expected to climb more significantly in future quarters. "RIM hasn't seen the full benefit of its OS launch yet," Morgan explained.

Smartphone sales are being driven by dropping prices and heavy subsidization by carriers, says ABI Senior Analyst Michael Morgan. Yet, the situation is likely not sustainable. The market "needs to boil down to three or perhaps four key operating systems," writes Morgan.

A final barrier to adoption is now the cost of mobile data plans, says ABI. Verizon Wireless recently confirmed that like rival AT&T, it will soon begin offering tiered pricing for its data plans, writes Maisto. Verizon will also offer a $15 option that it expects will attract first-time smartphone users, says the story. Unlike AT&T, however, which recently ended its offer of an unlimited plan, Verizon still plans to offer an "all-you-can-eat" option.

Yet, "all-you-can-eat" plans, suggests the ABI report, may also be contributing to the unsustainable nature of the smartphone market. The "huge numbers of smartphones now connected in U.S., particularly those running iOS and Android," states the report, are creating capacity concerns.

Such concerns are said by Morgan to be "sucking the value out" of the mobile ecosystem, according to eWEEK.

Availability

The eWEEK story on Android Market hitting the 100K app mark may be found here.

The eWEEK story on ABI Research's 2Q smartphone study should be here, and the ABI study itself here.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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