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Some of the statistics compiled by Distimo are stunning. Four out of five paid Android applications have been downloaded fewer than 100 times. One in five of the free applications also get the cold shoulder from Android users, as 20% of them also have fewer than 100 downloads.
Let's keep in mind that Google is activating hundreds of thousands of Android handsets per day, with a monthly rate of near 10 million new Android phones reaching the market. Surely those 10 million people are downloading apps, aren't they?
"It is more challenging for developers in the Google Android Market than in the Apple App Store to monetize using a one-off fee monetization model," wrote Distimo in its study. "We found that only two paid applications have been downloaded more than half a million times in the Google Android Market worldwide to date, while six paid applications in the Apple App Store for iPhone generate the same number of downloads within a two month timeframe in the United States alone."
Here are some of the key stats pulled out by Distimo:
-- Only 96 applications have been downloaded more than 5 million times in the Google Android Market. Google Maps is the only application with more than 50 million downloads, making it the all-time most popular application in this store. Google Maps is free, and Google updates it constantly.
-- Strikingly, more than half (51.8%) of free applications have been downloaded less than 1,000 times.
-- The refresh rate of top application charts is significantly higher in the Apple App Store for iPhone than in the Google Andoid Market. During the month of April, says Distimo, there were 94 distinct applications with a top 10 (free or paid) position in the Apple App Store for iPhone in the US; there were only 26 distinct applications that reached a top 10 position in the Google Android Market.
-- Looking at just games, there are five paid games in Google Android Market with over 250,000 downloads worldwide. In the Apple App Store for iPhone, 10 paid games generated more than 250,000 downloads in the United States alone in two months.
So, what's the take-away from this data? Apple's iPhone App Store is better at making money for developers who are interested in selling software. They're clearly reaping the benefits of Apple's model and the high level of visibility apps get in the iPhone App Store.
Google needs to make changes to the way the Android Market behaves if it wants to keep developers for Android happy. They certainly aren't making as much money writing Android applications as developers are with iPhone applications.
Google has indicated that changes are coming to the Android Market, but the question remains, will they be enough? Will they give the 200,000+ applications available to Android handsets better visibility and more traction with Android users?
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