MANILA, Pilippines – Google’s Android mobile operating system became the market leader in application downloads for the second quarter of 2011, posting a share of 44 percent against iOS’s 31 percent, according to research firm ABI Research.
In the same period, Apple’s iPad shipment posted a slow growth rate, down 9 percent from 15 percent the previous quarter, while Android shipments increased 36 percent during the period.
ABI Research Associate Lim Shiyang said Android’s open source strategy — though seen as largely fragmenting the market — contributed to its recent success.
“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,” Shiyang said. “These conditions alone explain why Android is the new leader in the mobile application market.”
The firm said Android’s install base now exceeds Apple’s by a factor of 2.4 to 1 globally, and is on pace to grow to 3 to 1 in the next five years. Official figures from the two competing companies, however, peg the total number of Android devices activated worldwide at 190 million units, while Apple’s figures for iOS number at 250 million, as of October.
Despite this feat, however, average app download per user on the Android platform still falls behind Apple’s 2 to 1 ratio.
“Apple’s superior monetization policies attracted good developers within its ranks, thus creating a better catalog of apps and customer experience,” the firm explained. In fact, during the launch of its latest flagship phone, the iPhone 4S, Apple revealed that as much as $3 billion in revenues have been netted by its developers since the App Store was conceived.
Global app downloads for year-end 2011 are expected to balloon to 29 billion, compared to only nine billion in 2010. Such remarkable increases are largely due to the proliferation of smartphones around the world, ABI Research said, as total smartphone install base is expected to grow 46 percent in 2011.