Why does Apple have more apps than Android, when android has more customers?
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Part of the problem is that not all carriers/manufacturers push updates as quickly, so unless you are extra savvy, and not an ordinary user, one tends to find oneself stuck at 2.1 while the apps you want requires 2.3, etc.
I think it's simply that iOS users are shown to pay for apps more frequently than the typical Android user.
According to one study by Distimo, whatever the reason may be, iOS users seem more willing to pay for apps than the Android user:
"We have estimated that in March and April together, six paid applications have generated more than 500,000 downloads each in just the United States in the Apple
App Store for iPhone. In the Google Android Market however, only two paid applications have exceeded more than 500,000 downloads (but under 1 million) worldwide to date: Beautiful Widgets and Robo Defense. Hence, the possibility to generating over 500,000 paid downloads is a real possibility for more applications in the Apple App Store than in the Google Android Market.
Just as with all applications, paid games also generate more downloads in the Apple App Store for iPhone than in the Google Android Market. There are five games in Google Android Market with over 250,000 downloads worldwide. In the Apple App Store for iPhone ten games generated more than 250,000 downloads in the United States alone in two months."
Also, you can't just take into account the number of iPhone devices out, but the number of iOS devices, which include iPod touches and iPads as well as iPhones. According to Apple at WWDC, they had over 200 million iOS devices out and today they said they over 200 million iOS users (I'm not exactly sure what the difference in wording means), but that's a lot of iOS devices/users out there.
According to the Q2 2011 earnings call, Android has 130 million devices, so this adds to the other reasons of why developers are targeting iOS over Android:
Other things to take into account is growth. According to a recent Nielsen survey, Android growth is flattening out while iPhone (only?) is still on the up. Meaning developers (mostly indie) aiming to hit iOS users over Android users would still make more sense instead of doubling their efforts to develop an app for both platforms.
My personal opinion for the lack of Android apps is that the sheer difficulty of development on all Android devices is holding back a decent amount of developers. Device numbers aren't the only thing that bring in developers. More and more I read of the headaches that developers have to go through to support their Android apps because of a variety of reasons that range from device compatibility, borked Android Market, the pain of handling transactions via Google Checkout and the lack of visibility on the Android Market.
Edit 7/14//2011: Added how many devices Android devices there are.
I'd only add that it's far easier to optimize for iOS hardware and formfactors than Android. To release an app that can be successful on Android, you have to optimize for a lot of different formfactors (we're talking dozens of combinations); resolutions, cameras, hardware performance levels, and more.
With iOS, you're realistically only targeting iOS 4.0 devices at this point, so 2 resolutions, 3 CPU levels, and 3 cameras for phone--apps, including iPod Touches, and only 1 additional CPU and screen size (although same resolution) for iPad.
Much more manageable for a small scale app developer to execute well.
Also there is the fragmentation of the market. While Apple holds everything in its hands regarding iOS it's a whole different story for Android. There are how many appstores for Android? That doesn't really help the developers either because they have to comply with different kinds of rules while Apple's rules are pretty restrictive - but consistent for all iOS devices. So if you manage to get your app onto the Apple appstore then you are available for pretty much all iOS devices ever shipped. Try to do that for Android and you'll see that the freedom is backfiring here quite a bit.
Additionally there is the payment aspect. While you can argue that taking a 30% cut is quite a bit - it also helps all those developers that do not want to run their own payment infrastructure. Sure, Google offers checkout - but it's far from complete and by no means comparable to the availability that Apple has so far.
And finally you shouldn't forget the iPad devices. Apple sold plenty of those and it doesn't take much effort to make an app that already runs on the iPhone/iPod touch to run native on the iPad as well.
Sum it up with the reasons mentioned above and you have plenty of reasons why the Apple appstore holds more apps.
1. Market penetration. The iPhone was on the market, and majorly hyped (rightly or wrongly) by Apple, with major marketing $$$ behind it, far earlier than any Android-based phones.
2. Integration of hardware and software - Apple make the hardware, Apple make the OS. If something breaks, you can yell at Apple (whether or not they'll listen is debatable). In the Android market, you have many different hardware playforms running many different versions of the OS - some far more successfully than others.
3. No "reference model". When I deploy a new laptop at work, it gets loaded with a standard SOE that I *know* will work. When new AQndroid-based phones are launched, they all appear to have a "teweaked" version of the OS and there is little commonality at the usability level.
4. Apple are still supporting, at least until iOS5, the 3G. Google are saying that Honeycomb (a.k.a. Android 3.0) will NOT run on earlier hardware, and is really a "tablet" OS - problem is many if not ALL of those features are wanted/needed by smartphone users.
The market should settle on ONE configuration as the reference model for Android phones - let's say (for argument) the Nexus S. Softwsre will be deemed to be "Android compatable" if it runs on a vanilla ROM on the Nexus S - no guarantees on other hardware though.
This is the problem with an Open Source OS, I'm afraid.
This is like the Apple vs Windows war. Apple had the head start but in the 90s EVERYTHING was Windows.