Android continues to thrive despite assortment of app stores

by Kristen Nicole

The question of Android’s Market has turned to one of profit, as an assortment of app stores pepper the consumer scene. Android’s made a frenemie of Amazon, an app store that’s found the secret to selling paid apps. Ditsimo collected app download data in January 2012, finding that Google’s Android Market’s proportion of paid apps declined from 38 percent to 32 percent in the last seven months. Amazon’s Appstore, on the other hand, held steady at 65 percent over the same period.

While the Android Market’s open-door policy dilutes their paid app ratio, a contrast you’ll also see when compared to Apple’s iTunes App Store, the Android ecosystem is still far-reaching. Android impressions on Millennial Media’s network grew 504 percent year-over-year, and 2011 was a stellar year. Android held a 47 percent share of device OS impressions, while iOS had 33 percent. That’s a full flip from 2010, when iOS topped OS shares at 41 percent, Android taking only 30 percent. Where Android still lags is the tablet market, giving way to the iPad in device and impression shares.

The Android ecosystem is thriving in its own way, feeding Samsung’s rapid rise to the top. Samsung’s teetering alongside Apple in terms of manufacturer influence. HTC, despite its tumultuous earnings in 2011, held the number three spot for overall device manufacturers. Both Android handset makers are expected to reveal something special at Mobile World Congress next week. We’re looking for a quad-core tablet preview from Samsung, and the benchmarking One S from HTC. Several device makers are expected to reveal Android 4.0 devices, a lineup that could boost ICS adoption.

There’s no stopping the Android Market. Pre-sorted or otherwise, Android’s dominion extends across advertising networks, personalized services, search and entertainment. That free-for-all attitude also makes the Android Market in particular a target for regulation. Google, along with Apple, Amazon, HP, Microsoft and Research In Motion have all agreed to comply with a California law requiring mobile apps that collect personal information to have a privacy policy. It’s another step towards trimming up the mobile experience to match the more familiar desktop. All app stores have been facing increasing pressure from privacy advocates to better protect consumer interests.