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Less than six weeks after announcing that downloads from its iTunes App store had topped two billion, Apple on Wednesday let it be known that its online collection has now topped one hundred thousand apps.

In a statement, Apple SVP of marketing Phil Schiller tossed a not-so-subtle jab at Cupertino's Palm Prē and Android competitors, calling the App Store "a major differentiator for millions of iPhone and iPod touch customers around the world."

In comparison, Androlib.com lists the population of the Android Market as of Wednesday morning to be two apps short of 15,000 (although a Google spokesperson told The Reg that the total is closer to 12,000).

Of the 15K apps reported by Androlib.com, 64 per cent are free. In Apple's App Store, by contrast, only 24 per cent of the apps are free, according to Mobclix - which, incidentally, numbers App Store offerings to be a bit higher than Apple's announcement, saying that 108,700 are now available.

Although the number of Android apps pales in comparison to Apple's 100,000-plus, it far outpaces the app count for the Palm Prē, which a Palm spokesperson tells The Reg now stands at 320.

But the also-ran status of Apple's competitors hasn't stopped the proliferation of competing mobile-app marketplaces. And in a move to unify competition to Apple's App Store juggernaut, Ericsson exec Jan Uddenfeldt suggested at the OpenMobileSummit in San Francisco Wednesday morning that the wireless industry should create what he calls "horizontal" mobile app stores that would offer apps for multiple operating systems and devices.

If Uddenfeldt succeeds in willing a unified app store into being, we hope his creation is easier to use than Apple's App Store. Despite a recent attempt by Cupertino to make its Store more user-friendly, digging through its 100,000-plus offerings to find the shiny needles buried in the composting haystack remains a daunting task.

Then there's the simple fact that a goodly number of App Store apps could most generously be described as crap. And speaking of matters colonic, the App Store's fart-app count has now risen to 425, up from 406 in late September. ®

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