iPhone beaten by Android for first time, as two billion fewer Apple apps downloaded

Android to take the app top spot this year...
Written by Jo Best, Contributor on

Android to take the app top spot this year...

Steve Jobs apps

Around six billion apps will be downloaded for the iPhone this yearPhoto: James Martin/CNET

Apple may have started the mobile app revolution, but it looks set to lose its number one spot: according to research published this week, 2011 will be the first year that more apps are downloaded for Android devices than Apple's iPhone.

The research, by analyst house Ovum, predicted that this year six billion apps will be downloaded for Apple's iPhone, compared to more than eight billion for Google's Android OS.

And the gap between the pair is set to widen as time goes on: in 2016, Ovum expects Android to have 21.8 billion apps downloaded, while Apple will only be able to manage around half that number with 11.6 billion apps downloaded.

It's a reversal of fortune for Apple, which last year saw 2.7 billion apps downloaded for its iOS platform, compared to Android's 1.4 billion.

It's not all bad news for the iPhone however: Apple will still beat Android in the financial stakes. In the paid-for apps market, Apple will earn $2.8bn in 2016, compared to Android's $1.5bn, Ovum said.

Android's newfound app dominance is not the only app shocker the analysts are predicting: by 2015, Ovum reckons Windows Phone 7 will have overtaken BlackBerry in terms of both revenue and apps downloaded, making it the app world's number three behind Android and Apple.

The total paid-for app market will hit around $7.7bn in 2016, up from $3.7bn in 2011.

According to Ovum consumer telecoms principal analyst Eden Zoller, consumers are now becoming more app-savvy – and more discerning when it comes to what they're willing to pay for.

“Charging top-end premiums for smartphone apps is becoming increasingly difficult. The majority of paid-for apps are in a commodity pricing zone and those capable of pushing above the $5 mark are in the minority.

“App-savvy consumers are less willing to pay a high premium for anything but 'must have' apps. The challenge here is what is considered ‘must have’, as this varies by customer segment and the individual. However, good candidates are utility apps that bring increased productivity and convenience, or those that are deemed cool, fashionable and fun, such as the release of a long-awaited blockbuster game,” she said.

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