Android Market Marks 10 Billion Served with Dime Downloads

To celebrate the milestone of 10 billion apps downloaded since its Android Market opened for business in October 2008, Google is presenting a set of featured offerings through Dec. 16 for 10 cents each.

Clearly tickled pink by the development, Google boasted that downloads to the millions of Android-based devices made by Samsung, HTC, LG, Pantech, Motorola and others for all major carriers have reached 1 billion per month.

"One billion is a pretty big number by any measurement," wrote Eric Chu, director of the Android Developer Ecosystem, on the Official Google Blog on Tuesday. "However, when it's describing the speed at which something is growing, it's simply amazing.

"We can't wait to see where this accelerating growth takes us in 2012."

Ready for Dime Time

The apps available for 10 cents, as of Tuesday, are Asphalt 6 HD, Color & Draw for Kids, Endomondo Sports Tracker Pro, Fieldrunners HD, Great Little War Game, Minecraft, Paper Camera, Sketchbook Mobile, SoundHound Infinity and SwiftKey X.

According to Mountain View, Calif.,-based Google, the Android Market reached its billionth download in July, 2010, its three billionth download in March of this year, and its 6 billionth download in July.

The Android Market has an estimated 580,000 offerings as of November, and as of last month now includes a music store, helping it compete with Apple's iTunes and App Store for iOS devices, which also has about 500,000 offerings but boasts about 18 billion downloads so far, reaching the 10 billion mark in January. The App Store now has about 140,000 apps for its hit iPad tablet.

Research In Motion's BlackBerry App World has roughly 50,000 offerings, while Microsoft's Windows Phone Marketplace has about 40,000 applications available.

While average individual smartphone or tablet users, even with a healthy appetite for apps, will only mildly scratch the surface of either stockpile of apps in a lifetime of downloading, size clearly matters for platform bragging rights.

Do You Want Fries with That?

"I guess it's mainly meaningful if you ascribed importance to Apple's continuing quantification of downloads, whether they are from iTunes or the App Store," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. "For good or ill, vendors have decided to define product success in a way which is analogous to McDonald's chest beating over the number of burgers its served."

King said that while the figure of 10 billion was impressive, "it's not terribly surprising considering the continuing success of Android, the number of existing and potential smart phone customers and how many apps are distributed freely or cheaply."

According to third-quarter data released by Nielsen Research last month, Android remains the most popular platform in the United States, with a lock on 43 percent of the smartphone market, compared with 39 percent in July, while Apple's iOS held steady at 28 percent. That's still impressive, though, considering that Apple only makes one phone.


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