Android to beat iOS by smartphone app DLs

Dylan Bushell-Embling
05 Mar 2013

Android will account for an estimated 58% of the 56 billion smartphone apps that will be downloaded in 2013, ABI Research predicts.

Apple's iOS, which famously maintained a lead in mobile apps long after Android surpassed it by market penetration, will have an annual share of around 33%.

Windows Phone and BlackBerry will be a distant third and fourth with a 4% and 3% market share respectively.

Based on Android's lead and the improved conditions for app building for the platform, ABI expects a growing number of smartphone app developers to adopt an “Android-first” strategy this year.

But the tablet segment remains a very different beast. ABI forecasts that Apple's iPad will account for a 75% share of the tablet app market in 2013, compared to 17% for Android.

This excludes the Android fork used by Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets, which will account for around 4% of the market themselves, while Windows tablets will account for around 2% of downloads.

ABI Research senior analyst Aapo Markkanen said the segment could be the next battleground for Android.

“Arguably the most pressing issue for Google is how much of [Android's] handset momentum will ultimately trickle down to tablets, where Apple is holding the fort remarkably well,” he said.

Although much has been made of the issue of Android fragmentation and forks, Markkanen said the existence of the Kindle Fire could actually help the platform gain ground in tablets, as it provides a draw for developers to build for the platform.

“It is worth remembering that Android’s so-called fragmentation problem isn’t only a problem, but that it has a certain upside as well,” he said.

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