The war between Android and iOS has ever-changing battle lines. Android is usually on top when it comes to new device activations. The iPad is still – by most reports – the winner in the tablet world. Both platforms claim more than 800,000 apps in their respective markets. There are so many new reports and new data constantly being released that it can be hard to keep up and even harder to determine which platform really is the best.
Harry McCracken, an editor at large for Time, pointed out in a recent Time Tech piece that choosing a winner can’t be left to one single number or stat.
Really, though, it’s silly to obsess over any one data point. If what you’re after is a clear idea of how the world’s two dominant mobile operating systems are doing — rather than an excuse to make bold proclamations and/or cheer for your favorite — you want to consider lots of data points.
So that’s what he did. McCracken looked at recent stats from different reports, research groups and analytic companies to answer the following questions:
- Which platform is selling the most smartphones?
- How about everywhere else?
- And tablets?
- Which companies are selling the most smartphones?
- Who’s making money selling smartphones?
- Which platform has the most apps?
- What do the numbers look like for tablet-specific apps?
- Who has the best apps?
- Which platform’s users are downloading the most apps?
- Who’s making money from app downloads?
- Which platform gets used most on the Internet?
- Which platform is more widely used in business, iOS or Android?
Seeing how this is an app analytics blog, we’re going to focus on the app-centric questions. We already mentioned that both platforms report having more than 800,000 apps. How many of those apps are tablet-specific?
For iOS, Apple says there are more than 300,000 iPad-optimized programs. For Android: I wish I knew! As far as I know, Google hasn’t disclosed this number. But it’s safe to say that it remains piddling compared to Apple’s figure.
When it came time to determine who has the “best” apps, McCracken turned to us for data and referenced a ReadWrite article written when Applause launched in January.
A company called uTest uses a system called Applause to crawl Apple’s App Store and Google’s Google Play, collecting user reviews and rankings. It then turns this data into scores from 1 to 100 for individual apps, and calculates average scores for each platform. In data published in a ReadWrite story in January, it said that the average iOS app, with a score of 68.5, is superior to the average Android app, at 63.3.
Who downloads more apps? For that info McCracken looked at a Q1 report from Canalys that showed Android leading with 51% of downloads and iOS not too far behind with 40%. The tables turn, though, when it comes to which platform brings in the most revenue from app downloads. iOS dominates that category with 74% while Android rakes in a mere 20% of all app download revenue.
McCracken’s article is filled with helpful visuals and short, to-the-point answers to each question he poses. Whether you’re an avid follower of the Android vs. iOS competition or a fan of mobile stats in general, it’s rare that this many reports and statisics are put side-by-side in the same article. Be sure you give “Who’s Winning, iOS or Android? All the Numbers, All in One Place” a read.
To keep an eye on the on-going health of the iOS and Android app economies, check the Applause Index daily.