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29 Billion Smartphone Apps are Downloaded in 2011


Once again, the balance of power has shifted within the mobile ecosystem marketplace. In the second quarter (Q2) of 2011, Google Android overtook Apple iOS to become the market share leader in mobile application (app) downloads.

According to the latest market study by ABI Research, the market shares of Android and iOS were 44 percent and 31 percent, respectively.

“Android’s open source strategy is the main factor for its success,” says Lim Shiyang, research associate at ABI Research.

Being a free and open platform has expanded the Android device install base, which in turn has driven growth in the number of third-party multiplatform and mobile operator app stores.

These conditions alone explain why Android is the new leader in the mobile application market. Recent quarterly shipment growth figures also explain Android’s ascent to the top app download position.

Apple iPhone shipment growth in Q2 2011 slowed to 9 percent -- from 15 percent a quarter earlier. In contrast, Android smartphone shipments increased 36 percent in Q2 2011, compared to 20 percent in Q1.

Android’s install base now exceeds iOS by a factor of 2.4-to-1 worldwide -- by 2016 this factor will grow to 3-to-1.

“Despite leading in total mobile application downloads, Android’s app downloads per user still lag behind Apple’s by 2-to-1,” adds Dan Shey, practice director, mobile services at ABI Research. “Apple’s superior monetization policies attracted good developers within its ranks, thus creating a better catalog of apps and customer experience.”

Global app downloads for year-end 2011 are expected to balloon to 29 billion, compared to only nine billion in 2010. Such stellar increases are largely due to the proliferation of smartphones around the world.

In fact, the total smartphone install base is now expected to grow by 46 percent in 2011.

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