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More Android devices means more downloads than iOS

Editors' Choice apps from the Android Market
Editors' Choice apps from the Android MarketGoogle

With so many more models than the iPhone, it's no wonder that Android devices have finally surpassed iOS in mobile app downloads, with 44 percent of the market share vs. 31 percent.

ABI Research released the figures Monday, at about the same time that another study showed a gain in Android apps — 500,000 (vs. Apple's 600,000).

"Android’s open source strategy is the main factor for its success," says Lim Shiyang, an ABI research associate, in a statement released with the findings. "Being a free platform has expanded the Android device install base, which in turn has driven growth in the number of third party multi-platform and mobile operator app stores. These conditions alone explain why Android is the new leader in the mobile application market."   

But in both cases, it's not a pure numbers game. Quantity doesn't necessarily translate to quality.

German-based research2guidance reported that more than 37 percent of the apps published in the Android Market were later removed "for various reasons, whereas the Apple App Store has removed just 24 percent of published apps in comparison."

It seems that since Apple is more discriminating about its apps, its users are also more appreciative of that screening process.

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

Overall though, it's an app-crazy world, with all downloads expected to hit 29 billion by the end of this year, compared to 9 billion last year. But let's be real — it's so easy to tap that download button on just about anything that catches the eye, and you probably have a lot of apps that you never use, or just as quickly uninstall.

While one analyst interpreted a first-ever drop in U.S. smartphone sales as an indication that Android had hit its peak and was on its way down, the decline in the third quarter could also be attributed to those who were waiting for the next iPhone to arrive, or the next iteration of their particular Android handset.

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