Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Thursday, April 28, 2011

More Free Android Apps Than iOS

Handy reference for the number of applications on different platforms; original here.
According to Distimo, there are now more free apps for Android (over 134,000 of them) than for iOS (over 121,000). Of course, iOS has many more paid applications than Android (about 3 times as many, in fact). This does go to demonstrate the fact that Android app developers primarily make money from advertising or virtual products (even before official in-app purchasing appears on Android) rather than from app sales.

This makes it harder for developers who'd like to charge for their Android app: Customers are expecting to get their Android apps for free since so many already are free. It's a vicious feedback cycle. Developers can spend their time complaining about the situation, or just realize it is what it is and figure out how to profit from reality.

I recommend the second course of action.

Interestingly, the same report shows that iPad applications are increasing in price over time.
See the larger version here.

The average price paid for an iPad app is over $5... quite a contrast to the iOS apps which struggle to crack $2. Encouraging news for game developers looking to make some money on the iPad, though. Meanwhile, the number of apps featuring in-app purchases has declined. Perhaps because there are more books being put into the iPad?


  1. Android doesn't have more free apps than iOS. I think you've missed the iPad from the chart, which counts toward iOS. It would be correct to say Android has more free apps than iPhone, however.

    But you are correct that the trend shows iOS leans toward paid software, where Android is mostly free apps. Even though Android may technically be the more widespread platform, I think it's clear that the higher number of users who actually use and buy apps is found on Apple devices.

  2. Good catch... yes, I meant iPhone apps. The important part is indeed the fact that Android apps tend to be free. It may be difficult for that market to change in the future. I do wonder how in-app purchasing (coming in May) will change this... perhaps it will tilt even more heavily towards free apps.