Google Matches Apple Mobile App Count
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
One of the main arguments in the great mobile platform war is the issue of app ecosystems. Apple has, of course, been the undisputed leader when it comes to their app store. Apple´s App Store has always been the largest and most secure of them all, and with this massive library, Apple´s been able to keep many of their competitors at bay. Yet, competitors (namely Android) have been working to not just catch up with Apple, but compete with them on their level. It´s taken a few years, but with Google´s Nexus 7 and Samsung´s Galaxy S III announcements earlier this summer and Amazon´s Kindle Fire HD unveiling this September, Apple finally has some peers in the smartphone and tablet markets.
While it appears as if Google has confirmed this news to sites like All Things D and Venture Beat, they´ve yet to make an official announcement about this milestone.
Google has been fast and ferociously gaining ground on Apple in terms of the size of their app store. During their June I/O developers conference, (where they also announced the Nexus 7 and tossed their futuristic spectacles from a plane) Google announced they had 600,000 apps and games available in the Play store. Growing at the rate of 100,000 apps every 4 months or so isn´t shabby.
Amazon´s app ecosystem is an interesting ordeal. While the Fire and Fire HD operate on Android and can run Android apps, the official way to get these apps is through Amazon´s own store, as opposed to shopping through the Google Play store. Sure, you CAN use apps from Google Play on the Fire HD, but not without some finagling.
That said, Amazon´s app store is significantly smaller than Apple and Google´s. At last check, Amazon had just crossed the 500,000 mark in September, just before their big Fire HD unveil. To be fair, Amazon´s app store isn´t yet two years old. Apple, on the other hand, opened their app store in 2008. Since the debut of Apple´s App Store, the company has said they´ve paid out $6.5 billion to developers, a large number fit for a successful app economy. They´ve also seen more than 35 million downloads in that time.
Another important number to consider in this clash is how many tablet-specific apps are in each of these stores. While Google hasn´t said how many of these apps are tablet specific, Apple announced during this week´s Q4 earrings call that of the 700,000 apps in the app store, 275,000 are built specifically for iPad. The new iPad mini, by the way, will be able to run each of these 275,000 apps, which could drive the development community to continue writing for Apple´s App Store.
Elsewhere in this war, Microsoft has 100,000 apps available for Windows Phone, while RIM is still trying its hardest just to persuade developers to look their way.