People are now downloading more Android apps than iOS apps overall, although Apple's customers download more on a per-person basis.
The analyst firm ABI Research said this week that Android now had a 44 percent share of the app download market, with iOS on 31 percent. The company said this was simply because there are more Android handsets out there than iPhones.
"Android's open source strategy is the main factor for its success," research associate Lim Shiyang said in a statement on Monday. "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. These conditions alone explain why Android is the new leader in the mobile application market."
That mobile application market will by the end of the year have entailed 29 billion app downloads for 2011, ABI projected, noting that this was down to the rapid proliferation of smartphones around the world. The firm expects 2011 to have seen a 46 percent growth in smartphone usage.
ABI's figures showed that iPhone shipments in the second quarter of this financial year only saw nine percent growth, down from 15 percent a quarter before — of course, the latest quarter came just before the launch of the iPhone 4S, and many customers would have held off buying an Apple device in the run-up to that launch.
Android, on the other hand, has seen shipment grow by 36 percent in the quarter, up from 20 percent in Q1. According to ABI, there are now 2.4 installed Android phones out there for every iOS device, and this ratio will be three-to-one by 2016.
ABI pointed out that, per device, the number of downloaded apps for Android was around half that for iOS.
"Despite leading in total mobile application downloads, Android's app downloads per user still lag behind Apple's by two-to-one," mobile services practice director Dan Shey said. "Apple's superior monetisation policies attracted good developers within its ranks, thus creating a better catalogue of apps and customer experience."