Once upon a time there was only one mobile eco-system worth developing apps for: iOS. Why? Because that was where the money was. It was generally accepted that the only place that people would pay for apps was the Apple App Store.
Not any more. A recent article in the Financial Times (free subscription required) suggests that, whilst the revenue generated from the top 200 apps on the Apple App store has risen from $15 million per month to $18 million, the Google Play store has seen an astonishing growth from $3.5 million to $12 million. And this does not include regions where the Google Play store is unavailable and where third party app stores might bolster this number even more.
The article also points out that Google has now taken over from Apple in terms of the volume of apps downloaded. All of this, plus Android’s incredible 81% market share of smartphone sales, suggests that whatever the past has looked like, the future will certainly be different.
Apple had an incredible advantage when selling apps to people through iTunes – it already had people’s credit card details and therefore was able to easily persuade people to part with 69p here or £1.19 there. It seems that Google has now rapidly caught up with Apple and it is likely that app developers that had been iOS only will seriously need to re-assess the market opportunities. With Google’s current dominance of the smartphone market, the opportunities in Android are huge and only going to grow.