Jan 04 AT 10:05 AM Anthony Domanico 33 Comments

Android now has 400,000 apps, still a ways to go to catch iOS

android-vs-apple Image via: laihiu with Creative Commons

Distimo is reporting that Android now has 400,000 applications available on the Android Market, putting Android a mere 25% behind Apple’s App Store. Android’s smartphone market share continues to grow more rapidly than any other smartphone platform, and developers are taking notice.

With more and more developers developing Android applications before developing for other platforms, it will likely not be much longer before the number of Android applications matches the number of iOS apps, likely when both platforms are in the 550,000 to 600,000 range if Android’s market growth continues at the rate it has been.

Distimo’s report shows that Android’s application growth is largely coming in the free application category, with 68% of applications now available free of charge to end users, a 13% increase from April 2011 to December 2011. We expect this trend to grow even more as developers embrace the freemium model, where developers offer the basic application for free and offer premium features as in-app purchases.

While it’s encouraging to see the number of applications growing, we hope that the trend continues to bring useful and novel applications to Android rather than “crap-apps” or apps that simply replicate functions of another application.

Source: Distimo

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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  • dpleus

    I agree with the “crap-apps” idea. There may be 400k apps in the Android market but how many are good, functional, device enhancing apps. Also, how many are widget apps and skins, as there are not found in the iOS ecosystem does that mean the number of apps is higher in iOS, or are they not included in the 400k?

    • stenzor

      I’m sure that the ratio of crapps to good apps is equal in Android and iOS. What I hope improves is the amount of well-designed apps on Android. Functionality isn’t everything.

      • JBC

        This I can agree with.

        Some of the designs for Android apps are just unimpressive and bland. Pandora for one.

        • LukeT32

          And the fact Pandora random stops planning, skips to the next song, or buffers for no reason. I hate to say/admit it but I thought polish are most android apps is lacking.

      • YMS123

        Congrats on reaching 100!

        • stenzor

          Thanks!

      • lokidokie

        The mandatory Google Holo theme should help this

    • zerosix

      And the confirmation of your words is here: https://market.android.com/search?q=hello+world+test+app&c=apps 111 hello world test apps!
      Besides, there are lots of themes and wallpapers apps, which shouldn’t be marked as apps.
      I hope, that Google will add moderation to the market. The amount of crap is enormous.
      Besides, no moderation is not safe for customers, who can buy something just to find, that it’s useless.

    • Jon Garrett

      Id just like to be able to find what I want. I type in a specific app name and I get 2 dozen apps that have NOTHING to do with the app or developer Im looking for.

    • thaghost

      Excellent point! How many adw themes and go themes, etc fill up the market? Yes those apps/developers are what android are all about but they really inflate the number. I cant wait until more quality apps and games come to tablets.

  • vid500

    Glad to see that android market is catching up. The developers are doing a great job with all the new arriving and the old apps. Keep on going.

  • aykutb

    okay what do i do with 400k apps? nothing. i’d prefer quality apps, that actually works.it’s known that looks don’t have the first priority for us, yes but we wouldn’t mind.i think market and applications should be managed better.

  • Trinhbo

    Totally agree with the comments here. The 400,000 number is just a marketing number to say that the Android Market is mature and has *this* many apps because the average sensible person probably wouldn’t want to get a smart phone with a limited app store.

    As for reality, a lot of the apps in that number include skins and themes and “crapps”. Most end users could care less if the actual number was closer to 100,000 as long as that “true” number was comprised of actual useful apps.

  • zyphbear

    I totally agree with the writer of the article, we need more useful/fun original applications. While I know there are some ‘filler’ applications on iOS, many are still useful to SOMEONE, many of the crap apps on Android are just to bolster some Dev’s numbers or trying to republish someone else’s app. (as I have seen more and more lately). There really needs to be a better way for those crappy/filler ones to get removed and thus praise the good apps (even if they are not always well made, they put their own amount of work into it and the more people that like it and try it, they can also improve on it too.)

  • SGB101

    bring back the 24 hour return policy, or at least 6 hour return. it really puts me off paying out for apps that i dont know will fit what i need.

    i for one would buy more if i had this piece of mind. as you cant really trust the app reviews in android as they conflict in most if not all cases. some unfairly and some are just trying to game the system.

  • cxandroid

    Really, who cares, what useful thing does this measure?

    • SGB101

      it measure the amount of crap we have to wade through to get to the gems

  • Andy_jr

    This is a little OT, but …

    I love that picture! You guys crack me up with some of those images. Do you find them or make them?

  • Jayson Olson

    The ‘Android App’ offerings is kinda a sore subject for me. At this point, a few years into the OS, I’m really surprised by the lack of high caliber apps and the surplus of what you refer to as “crap-apps”.

    I don’t get it. Is the incentive not there for the developers? It seems as if Google will let anyone in these days to pump up the numbers, but there is a dual edge sword to this mentality….basically the inclusion of bloatware, buggy-ware, and useless-ware.

    I don’t own any Apple devices, but from what I can glean over the shoulders of friends, is that the majority (not all mind you), but the majority of iOS apps are not only stable, but have an actual purpose beyond trivial novelty.

    I’d like to see more stringent requirements from Google, and maybe a better way to showcase top-tier apps to get people fired up.

  • jeff.j1990

    The Android store should remain open. But Google should introduce a “Critic rating” system which should tell how good an app is.

  • http://www.jimtravis.com jimtravis

    As many have commented, the number of apps should not be the ultimate measure. The true measure (for me) is 1) can I find an app that does what I need, 2) is it reasonably priced, 3) does it follow accepted defacto design standards, and 4) is it pleasing to the eye. I have a much better chance of finding an app that meets all four criteria in the Android store than the Apple store.

    I switched from Windows Mobile to Android because Windows Phone, and iOS do not support the features I need, and Microsoft abandoned the power user when they introduced WP7. Doesn’t matter if the iOS app store has a million apps, I am not going to find the apps I need because the platform does not support the features I need without jailbreaking (no jaibroken apps in Apple’s store). Even if Apple reversed long standing limitations, would not want to be forced to use the apps on the now tiny one size fits all 3.5″ screen regardless of how high the resolution is.

  • Hall Lo

    Quantity doesn’t matter, while quality does. Quite a few apps in Android Market now has either bad design or bad functionality, or even both, and that’s what should be changed.

  • redman618

    Yes to all above…
    Crap apps need a way to be filtered. Then you have apps that never get a refresh (Pandora I’m looking at you, why can’t I finish one song without you skipping it ahead?). At first Androids openness is a major plus, but when does it start to become a hinderence? As much as I hate to say this (trust me this burns me!) Does Android now need a check and balance system in place, not a dictatorship that approves apps then pulls apps when they see fit. We need some QUALITY apps. As we said in college it’s about quality not quantity!!

  • http://www.the-wolf.co.uk mabroid

    Simple, quality beats quantity everytime (or so I tell my wife)

  • dbareis

    What proportion of the “free” apps are actually TRIAL or similar apps? With only paid and free categories there is a lot of “free” stuff which is is not “useful”.

  • lokidokie

    Yay for the devs

  • lokidokie

    And with the new mandatory Google Holo theme on most devices, the quality and ‘polish’ will be up also!

  • Coltsfan74

    Great Job devs. Keep putting out those apps, but keep focus on quality and usefulness. After having the iTouch for awhile (quit when I got OG Droid), I was disappointed in those offerings. Seriously, how many applications for a level do we need?

    I don’t mind if Android has less, I just hope they can keep getting better.

  • http://k-selezneva.blogspot.com/ KatSelezneva

    I agree that apps’ quality is the point, not their quantity. I wish there were more original usable apps on the Android Market. How to promote your business mobile application. Part 1 http://k-selezneva.blogspot.com/2011/12/how-to-promote-your-business-mobile.html

  • Tony

    I have owned 3 apple iOS devices but I pride myself on being open-minded so I decided to buy-in to Android with the purchase of a Sony S tablet and boy do I regret not having purchased an iPad instead, and why? Because android apps are crap.
    For example – force close issues on my most frequently used apps. Whats a force closed issue those still unfamiliar with the android system might ask? Well its like when Windows Word freezes and the only option is to close your file and maybe lose all progress made in your document.
    And where are the quality games the Apple store has? What’s the point of my owning a dual core cpu tablet if I can’t find any good games to play on the damned thing?
    And to all those Android fanboys who hate Apple and whose comments influenced me into buying into Android – never again. Apple are the way to go at this point in time and I can’t see any foreseeable improvement in the near future.

  • Raymond

    The Android is a program, but apple is a product all itself. When people buy different Android phones, they are buying the companies version of the phone but also the Android program. Apple phones have looked the same since they came out, while different Android phones look different with different functions and purposes. That icloud is very useless and stupid. All it does is make copies of everything to one device to the other, it does not help the memory in any way.
    Apple comes out with a plain phone that never changes, plus products that are useless such as the ipad 2. i heard someone saying they bought a ipad 2 even though he has a netbook that has way more power, portability, functions, and much more. what is the ipad meant for really? it is soo useless if everyone already has some kind of laptop and netbook. Google is way more universal in every way with Chrome, Maps, Earth, Search, Translate, Doc, Android, Motorola, Google +, Apps on the Chrome browser, the 400,000 Apps on the phones, Chrome book, Calendar, advertisement comments that can also share the G+ site, and much more…need i go on? all this is linked all together for close to free rather than paying for apps on the iphone where it would cost a pretty penny. I do not even know why people even buy a apple product..its as more universal as the Facebook’s ‘Like’ button on different companies websites…it does not go as far as that.

    Get real everyone…apple has over priced products such as their computers plus the iphone. then they make a product and mark it with a high price where people ‘have to have it’ then paying cancellation fees and buying a iphone. i really do not get why people buy a apple product being over priced, same old plain design since it came out, useless technology, and making people feel they can not do nothing without it..haha..plus the fact people are willing to go into a contract just to say they have a iphone..haha people are soo stupid its funny! haha!!

  • MdMoto (Ex iSheep)

    Some facts of life
    All large companies will have some disgruntled customers.
    All (very) large libraries will have a certain amount of poor quality items in their inventory (“Poor Quality” is also open to interpretation)
    Tony, Sony tablet, really! their company strategy is not much better than Apple. (Remember CD’s & memory sticks) trying to solely dominate the global market.
    In my experience of P.C.s Games are by far the most likely reason to cause crashes. I refuse to support my friends children’s P.C’s & smart phones because they install and de-install games that sends the O/S screwy.
    The point of a “Dual core” processor is so your quality apps will run faster and (most of) the games will crash faster. (Get an xbox or playstation)
    As for smart phones (not tablets) lets not lose site of their primary function (phone calls) Yes it is great to have a contact list and calendar that you can search electronically.
    Having the ability to browse the web is convenient but I say you can’t beat a desktop P.C. for speed.
    Also other conveniences such as checking the weather, stocks, email etc, which brings me to some useful features on the Android platform and in particular HTC with their “sense UI”. rather than having to open apps, items such as weather, email, messages they are right their on your desktop.
    Try this on your iPhone and then Android,
    1/. go from your first screen to your last screen. (count the swipes)
    2/. Turn your Bluetooth on or off (4-5 presses on iPhone, 1-2 on Android)
    3/. Turn your Wi-Fi on or off (same as above) less if you have “Y5″ battery saver on your Android.
    4/. Try putting music on your iPhone without a P.C. Hmm
    Lets face it, you couldn’t even “Copy & Paste” on the first iPhone. I had been doing it on Palm Pilot since 2000.
    5/. Try changing your battery, or increase storage.
    Shall I continue?
    There is a reason that iPhones only have one button…
    I purchased an iPhone 4 in Aug 2010 and after I left the store (with a new sim) it was not active until I connected it to a P.C. with internet connectivity so it could speak to its dad via the Apple umbilical. After one week I started looking for two Android devices
    I bought the Samsung Galaxy S i9000 and a HTC Desire, both were secondhand (I paid less for two phones than the iPhone 4 and each were twice as good)

  1. I agree with the “crap-apps” idea. There may be 400k apps in the Android market but how many are good, functional, device enhancing apps. Also, how many are widget apps and skins, as there are not found in the iOS ecosystem does that mean the number of apps is higher in iOS, or are they not included in the 400k?

    • I’m sure that the ratio of crapps to good apps is equal in Android and iOS. What I hope improves is the amount of well-designed apps on Android. Functionality isn’t everything.

      • JBCGuest 3 years ago

        This I can agree with.

        Some of the designs for Android apps are just unimpressive and bland. Pandora for one.

        • And the fact Pandora random stops planning, skips to the next song, or buffers for no reason. I hate to say/admit it but I thought polish are most android apps is lacking.

      • Congrats on reaching 100!

      • The mandatory Google Holo theme should help this

    • And the confirmation of your words is here: https://market.android.com/search?q=hello+world+test+app&c=apps 111 hello world test apps!
      Besides, there are lots of themes and wallpapers apps, which shouldn’t be marked as apps.
      I hope, that Google will add moderation to the market. The amount of crap is enormous.
      Besides, no moderation is not safe for customers, who can buy something just to find, that it’s useless.

    • Id just like to be able to find what I want. I type in a specific app name and I get 2 dozen apps that have NOTHING to do with the app or developer Im looking for.

    • Excellent point! How many adw themes and go themes, etc fill up the market? Yes those apps/developers are what android are all about but they really inflate the number. I cant wait until more quality apps and games come to tablets.

  2. Glad to see that android market is catching up. The developers are doing a great job with all the new arriving and the old apps. Keep on going.

  3. okay what do i do with 400k apps? nothing. i’d prefer quality apps, that actually works.it’s known that looks don’t have the first priority for us, yes but we wouldn’t mind.i think market and applications should be managed better.

  4. Totally agree with the comments here. The 400,000 number is just a marketing number to say that the Android Market is mature and has *this* many apps because the average sensible person probably wouldn’t want to get a smart phone with a limited app store.

    As for reality, a lot of the apps in that number include skins and themes and “crapps”. Most end users could care less if the actual number was closer to 100,000 as long as that “true” number was comprised of actual useful apps.

  5. I totally agree with the writer of the article, we need more useful/fun original applications. While I know there are some ‘filler’ applications on iOS, many are still useful to SOMEONE, many of the crap apps on Android are just to bolster some Dev’s numbers or trying to republish someone else’s app. (as I have seen more and more lately). There really needs to be a better way for those crappy/filler ones to get removed and thus praise the good apps (even if they are not always well made, they put their own amount of work into it and the more people that like it and try it, they can also improve on it too.)

  6. bring back the 24 hour return policy, or at least 6 hour return. it really puts me off paying out for apps that i dont know will fit what i need.

    i for one would buy more if i had this piece of mind. as you cant really trust the app reviews in android as they conflict in most if not all cases. some unfairly and some are just trying to game the system.

  7. Really, who cares, what useful thing does this measure?

    • it measure the amount of crap we have to wade through to get to the gems

  8. This is a little OT, but …

    I love that picture! You guys crack me up with some of those images. Do you find them or make them?

  9. The ‘Android App’ offerings is kinda a sore subject for me. At this point, a few years into the OS, I’m really surprised by the lack of high caliber apps and the surplus of what you refer to as “crap-apps”.

    I don’t get it. Is the incentive not there for the developers? It seems as if Google will let anyone in these days to pump up the numbers, but there is a dual edge sword to this mentality….basically the inclusion of bloatware, buggy-ware, and useless-ware.

    I don’t own any Apple devices, but from what I can glean over the shoulders of friends, is that the majority (not all mind you), but the majority of iOS apps are not only stable, but have an actual purpose beyond trivial novelty.

    I’d like to see more stringent requirements from Google, and maybe a better way to showcase top-tier apps to get people fired up.

  10. The Android store should remain open. But Google should introduce a “Critic rating” system which should tell how good an app is.

  11. As many have commented, the number of apps should not be the ultimate measure. The true measure (for me) is 1) can I find an app that does what I need, 2) is it reasonably priced, 3) does it follow accepted defacto design standards, and 4) is it pleasing to the eye. I have a much better chance of finding an app that meets all four criteria in the Android store than the Apple store.

    I switched from Windows Mobile to Android because Windows Phone, and iOS do not support the features I need, and Microsoft abandoned the power user when they introduced WP7. Doesn’t matter if the iOS app store has a million apps, I am not going to find the apps I need because the platform does not support the features I need without jailbreaking (no jaibroken apps in Apple’s store). Even if Apple reversed long standing limitations, would not want to be forced to use the apps on the now tiny one size fits all 3.5″ screen regardless of how high the resolution is.

  12. Quantity doesn’t matter, while quality does. Quite a few apps in Android Market now has either bad design or bad functionality, or even both, and that’s what should be changed.

  13. Yes to all above…
    Crap apps need a way to be filtered. Then you have apps that never get a refresh (Pandora I’m looking at you, why can’t I finish one song without you skipping it ahead?). At first Androids openness is a major plus, but when does it start to become a hinderence? As much as I hate to say this (trust me this burns me!) Does Android now need a check and balance system in place, not a dictatorship that approves apps then pulls apps when they see fit. We need some QUALITY apps. As we said in college it’s about quality not quantity!!

  14. Simple, quality beats quantity everytime (or so I tell my wife)

  15. dbareisGuest 3 years ago

    What proportion of the “free” apps are actually TRIAL or similar apps? With only paid and free categories there is a lot of “free” stuff which is is not “useful”.

  16. Yay for the devs

  17. And with the new mandatory Google Holo theme on most devices, the quality and ‘polish’ will be up also!

  18. Great Job devs. Keep putting out those apps, but keep focus on quality and usefulness. After having the iTouch for awhile (quit when I got OG Droid), I was disappointed in those offerings. Seriously, how many applications for a level do we need?

    I don’t mind if Android has less, I just hope they can keep getting better.

  19. I agree that apps’ quality is the point, not their quantity. I wish there were more original usable apps on the Android Market. How to promote your business mobile application. Part 1 http://k-selezneva.blogspot.com/2011/12/how-to-promote-your-business-mobile.html

  20. TonyGuest 3 years ago

    I have owned 3 apple iOS devices but I pride myself on being open-minded so I decided to buy-in to Android with the purchase of a Sony S tablet and boy do I regret not having purchased an iPad instead, and why? Because android apps are crap.
    For example – force close issues on my most frequently used apps. Whats a force closed issue those still unfamiliar with the android system might ask? Well its like when Windows Word freezes and the only option is to close your file and maybe lose all progress made in your document.
    And where are the quality games the Apple store has? What’s the point of my owning a dual core cpu tablet if I can’t find any good games to play on the damned thing?
    And to all those Android fanboys who hate Apple and whose comments influenced me into buying into Android – never again. Apple are the way to go at this point in time and I can’t see any foreseeable improvement in the near future.

  21. RaymondGuest 3 years ago

    The Android is a program, but apple is a product all itself. When people buy different Android phones, they are buying the companies version of the phone but also the Android program. Apple phones have looked the same since they came out, while different Android phones look different with different functions and purposes. That icloud is very useless and stupid. All it does is make copies of everything to one device to the other, it does not help the memory in any way.
    Apple comes out with a plain phone that never changes, plus products that are useless such as the ipad 2. i heard someone saying they bought a ipad 2 even though he has a netbook that has way more power, portability, functions, and much more. what is the ipad meant for really? it is soo useless if everyone already has some kind of laptop and netbook. Google is way more universal in every way with Chrome, Maps, Earth, Search, Translate, Doc, Android, Motorola, Google +, Apps on the Chrome browser, the 400,000 Apps on the phones, Chrome book, Calendar, advertisement comments that can also share the G+ site, and much more…need i go on? all this is linked all together for close to free rather than paying for apps on the iphone where it would cost a pretty penny. I do not even know why people even buy a apple product..its as more universal as the Facebook’s ‘Like’ button on different companies websites…it does not go as far as that.

    Get real everyone…apple has over priced products such as their computers plus the iphone. then they make a product and mark it with a high price where people ‘have to have it’ then paying cancellation fees and buying a iphone. i really do not get why people buy a apple product being over priced, same old plain design since it came out, useless technology, and making people feel they can not do nothing without it..haha..plus the fact people are willing to go into a contract just to say they have a iphone..haha people are soo stupid its funny! haha!!

  22. MdMoto (Ex iSheep)Guest 3 years ago

    Some facts of life
    All large companies will have some disgruntled customers.
    All (very) large libraries will have a certain amount of poor quality items in their inventory (“Poor Quality” is also open to interpretation)
    Tony, Sony tablet, really! their company strategy is not much better than Apple. (Remember CD’s & memory sticks) trying to solely dominate the global market.
    In my experience of P.C.s Games are by far the most likely reason to cause crashes. I refuse to support my friends children’s P.C’s & smart phones because they install and de-install games that sends the O/S screwy.
    The point of a “Dual core” processor is so your quality apps will run faster and (most of) the games will crash faster. (Get an xbox or playstation)
    As for smart phones (not tablets) lets not lose site of their primary function (phone calls) Yes it is great to have a contact list and calendar that you can search electronically.
    Having the ability to browse the web is convenient but I say you can’t beat a desktop P.C. for speed.
    Also other conveniences such as checking the weather, stocks, email etc, which brings me to some useful features on the Android platform and in particular HTC with their “sense UI”. rather than having to open apps, items such as weather, email, messages they are right their on your desktop.
    Try this on your iPhone and then Android,
    1/. go from your first screen to your last screen. (count the swipes)
    2/. Turn your Bluetooth on or off (4-5 presses on iPhone, 1-2 on Android)
    3/. Turn your Wi-Fi on or off (same as above) less if you have “Y5″ battery saver on your Android.
    4/. Try putting music on your iPhone without a P.C. Hmm
    Lets face it, you couldn’t even “Copy & Paste” on the first iPhone. I had been doing it on Palm Pilot since 2000.
    5/. Try changing your battery, or increase storage.
    Shall I continue?
    There is a reason that iPhones only have one button…
    I purchased an iPhone 4 in Aug 2010 and after I left the store (with a new sim) it was not active until I connected it to a P.C. with internet connectivity so it could speak to its dad via the Apple umbilical. After one week I started looking for two Android devices
    I bought the Samsung Galaxy S i9000 and a HTC Desire, both were secondhand (I paid less for two phones than the iPhone 4 and each were twice as good)