Twenty-five billion applications have been downloaded from the App Store, putting it well ahead of Google's Android Market. But Google is growing at a faster rate.
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Over the weekend, Chunli Fu, of Qingdao, China, downloaded an application called "Where's My Water? Free" from the App Store. In so doing, Chunli won a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card for downloading the 25 billionth app from the App Store.
The App Store crossed the 10 billion mark in January 2011, and the 15 billion app download mark in July 2011.
According to Apple, the App Store is now home to some 550,000 apps for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, across 123 countries worldwide. In addition to the cross-device apps, there are more than 170,000 applications that are specific to the iPad tablet. There are 21 categories of apps from which to choose.
There are 315 million users of iOS devices--iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch--worldwide.
Probably the best news in Apple's press release today is not the success of the App Store with respect to the volume of downloads and apps, but the fact that Apple has paid developers $4 billion in app earnings. Though Apple didn't provide any sort of breakdown on which apps/developers have earned the most, it is clear that many are succeeding. (Of course, many surely are not, at least financially.)
"We'd like to thank our customers and developers for helping us achieve this historic milestone of 25 billion apps downloaded," said Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services in a statement. "When we launched the App Store less than four years ago, we never imagined that mobile apps would become the phenomenon they have, or that developers would create such an incredible selection of apps for iOS users."
Let's look at Apple's chief rival, Google.
It took the Android Market 20 months to reach its first billion downloads. That's when the rate really took off.
It took only five months for the Android Market to swell from its first billion to its second; two months to climb from 2 to 3 billion; two months to climb from 3 to 4.5 billion; two months to climb from 4.5 to 6 billion; and the last four months to jump from 6 to 10 billion.
Now, the Android Market is delivering 1 billion app downloads every 30 days. It crossed the 10 billion downloads mark in December 2011.
The total number of applications in the Android Market is above 300,000 at this point, though an exact figure isn't available. That includes apps for Android smartphones and tablets. It's worth pointing out that Android owners can also install apps from sources other than the Android Market--which means the total number of app downloads could be significantly higher.
Given the stronger sales figures of Android devices, the question now is how long will it take Android smartphone and tablet users to close the app download gap with their iOS-using peers?
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