Android Market tops 400,000 apps, climbing fast
Fart App Index™ parity with iOS unclear
Google's Android Market now has over 400,000 apps, and the pace of new code additions is accelerating.
News of this milestone was announced by the mobile-app marketplace watchers at Distimo, in Utrecht, The Netherlands, which says that the 400,000 line – which counts only currently active apps – was crossed this past weekend.
The big boy on the block is, of course, Apple's iOS app store. According to Apple, its store contains "over 500,000" apps. According to the app counters at 148Apps.biz, as of this Wednesday that number was precisely 543,424.
Interestingly, Distimo reports that although it took the Android Market two months longer than Apple's App Store to reach the 400,000 mark, the rate of apps being added – which was slower than Apple's for the first 20-30 months of both of both store existences – has picked up speed. In their respective rises from 200,000 to 300,000, Android app additions outpaced iOS app additions.
While the number of apps in the Android Market may be increasing quickly, that speed is being driven by the quick growth of free apps – paid-app growth is significantly slower.
As of today, Distimo reports, about two-thirds of all apps in the Android Market are free, while 148Apps.biz counts 236,969 free iOS apps and games – a figure they peg at an overly exact percentage of 43.61.
Remember, Apple doesn't give counts of free versus paid apps, so let's cut 148Apps.biz some slack – they're doing the best they can.
Much can also be said about the poor quality of apps offered by both the iOS App Store and the Android Market. Anyone who has spent any amount of time slogging through them, looking for quality, knows that a goodly amount of the apps in both stores' massive collections are less than stellar.
Speaking of crappy apps, the last time we checked the number of apps that turned up in a search for "fart" in Apple's App Store was last May, when the entire iOS collection passed the 500,000 milestone. At that time, the Reg's Fart App Index™ for the App Store stood at 856. As of today, Apple's count stands at a remarkably stable 857.
The Android Market promises that there are "At least 1000 results" in a similar search for fart apps – but displays only a mere 480.
Clearly, Google's engineers have some work to do to keep up with the increasing popularity of their Market. ®
The flip side to this is rating manipulation by what someone called "1 star dummies" recently on a google android dev group, which is a fitting description. It can be quite annoying when your free app gets a 1 star rating because it only does what the description says and not everything under the sun. It can also be annoying when people don't read instructions and claim it doesn't do what it actually does.
I'm not talking about 1 star ratings because people simply don't like it either (which is fair enough if that's their opinion, although even these can be a bit harsh sometimes for a free app). Some of these 1 star ratings are unnecessarily offensive, and there's no way to even write a reply at the moment (like you can for example on ebay feedback). They're not technically spam so can't be reported, they seem to be the product of bored teenagers most of the time.
Ahh yes, 4 star ratings
User rating manipulation is the next big thing
I downloaded a game the other day as the user rating was so high. I played it a few times and it was ok, then it hit me with a message offering me a free power up in exchange for a positive review on market, it even gave me a button to click to go straight there and it suddenly became clear why there were so many 5* reviews.
I've never used the Apple app store, but the problem with any distribution channel which contains so much content is always going to be finding an effective way of sorting the wheat from the chaff. Good job El Reg do app of the week I say :)