Saturday, July 16, 2011

iOS 50% Bigger Than Android, For Now

Apple announced last week that the iPhone App Store had reached the 15 billion download mark.

Here's the relevant quote from the press release: "In just three years, the revolutionaryApp Store has grown to become the most exciting and successful software marketplace the world has ever seen," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "Thank you to all of our amazing developers who have filled it with over 425,000 of the coolest apps and to our over 200 million iOS users for surpassing 15 billion downloads."

Very impressive: 425,000 apps, downloaded 15 billion times, on 200 million iOS devices.

Google announced its quarterly earnings Thursday and in the announcement shared some details about Android's recent growth.

Susan Wojcicki, Google SVP and advertising chief, said that the Android Market has 250,000 applications that have been downloaded 6 billion times on some 135 million Android devices. That's some solid growth, no doubt.

The number of Android devices has surged from 100 million just two months ago to 135 million now. This is surely due in part to the insane number of new Android smartphones and tablets that have flooded the market in the last few months. Android tablets don't appear to have really taken off yet, so we can assume most of the 135 million devices are Android smartphones.

Google's Larry Page revealed that it is activating new Android handsets at the rate of 550,000 per day. That's an increase of 50,000 daily activations in the last two weeks alone. Android's growth rate is truly astronomical.

The kicker is that despite Android's massive adoption levels, iOS devices still outnumber Android devices by about 65 million. (In this context, an iOS device is an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad.) The breakdown between phones, tablets, and media players has not been well defined. Either way you look at it, right now, iOS is a bigger mobile platform than Android.

But how long can Apple stay at the top? At the current rate of growth (assuming the 550,000 daily activations rate holds steady), Google is going to activate 65 million Android smartphones in the next 8.5 weeks. If people stop buying iOS devices altogether, Android will pass it in just two months.

Apple may have a chance of slowing Android down if it announces some new hardware by early September.

This two-horse race in the smartphone market will surely be neck and neck during the fourth quarter. Exciting times are ahead.