Industry observers report that the number of applications available for Android smartphones has risen dramatically since October, when more than 100,000 apps were available from the Android Market. According to the AndroLib web site, which tracks Android metrics, Google’s mobile platform gained more than 24,000 new apps in November and 26,000 this month.
Apple’s App Store remains the market leader with 300,000 apps — including more than 40,000 native iPad offerings. But the snowball effect driving Android app development is remarkable, considering that the Android Market only offered 30,000 apps in March and 70,000 by mid-July.
On the other hand, Windows Phone 7 reached 5,000 apps in just two months, while Android took almost three times as long to reach the same level, noted Al Hilwa, director of applications development software at IDC. “For a company that just a few months ago was nearing also-ran status in mobile, having 5,000 apps and 10 devices in 30 countries is by no means a trivial achievement,” he said.
The reality for developers is that they want to be on all major platforms, Hilwa noted. “They want to reach everyone who is interested in their app, [and] the only way to do that is to [be on] all the major app platforms [covering] many devices, carriers or geographies,” Hilwa said.
Still, launching a successful mobile platform presents a chicken-and-egg dilemma, where growth in device adoption is driven by the availability of apps, Hilwa observed. “App ecosystems are key in bootstrapping platforms into the market,” he said. “Without them, there is really no platform.”
Hilwa believes Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform has what it takes to become a successful smartphone OS player. “WP7 appears to be putting on about 2,000 apps a month, which is a really healthy clip for this stage of the game,” Hilwa explained….