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Google overtakes Apple in app downloads table

Graeme Parton

Smartphone app research firm App Annie revealed figures last week showing that Google Play, the Android software marketplace, has overtaken  Apple’s iOS App Store in popularity.

The passing has happened much quicker the experts had predicted just 12 months ago. One of the main factors was the huge surge in Android downloads in South Korea and Japan during the first quarter of 2013.

The push was given further strength with more significant second quarter growth in both Russia and India. Along with Brazil, Russia has worked its way into the top five countries in terms of download volume – this is great news for Google, which is thought to be actively looking to capitalise on the growing markets, particularly those in South America.

While Google Play has become more popular, the iOS App Store still comes out on top in terms of revenue. Apple is 130% better off than Android on this front. However, it is important to note that this gap is shortening at quite a pace. In 2011, iOS had a lead of more than 400%. It seems that it is only a matter of time before the tables turn.

The key to Android’s rise is undoubtedly down to the way it has flooded the emerging markets – countries such as China, Brazil, Russia and India – with cheap handsets.

Android does have the upper hand slightly in that Google Play-enabled handsets are made by a number of big-name manufacturers, whereas the App Store is only used on Apple’s own devices, such as the iPhone, the iPad and the iPod Touch.

A lot will depend now, therefore, on the rumoured release of Apple’s new ‘budget’ iPhone and whether it can challenge the Android dominance in India, China, Latin America and other rapidly growing markets.

Graeme has experience creating content for online sources and for the radio, and at university he studied Multimedia Journalism.

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