Android app downloads to overtake iPhone in 2011

There are more signs Android is becoming the biggest mobile OS on the market, with app downloads set to rise by almost 7 billion this year.

Android

For the first time Android app downloads are going to surpass those on Apple iPhones, analyst firm Ovum has predicted.

Before the end of the year, Android will take a "significant lead," with 8.1 billion downloads to Apple's 6 billion, Ovum said.

Although Android phones will lead on total download numbers, iPhone will continue to dominate the market in terms of revenues from paid-for apps.

Last year, 1.4 billion Android apps were downloaded, compared to Apple's 2.7 billion.

"The huge lead in downloads that Android will take on Apple is being driven by the growth of the platform as a result of its increasing popularity and progress into lower price points," said Ovum devices analyst Nick Dillon.

"But although Android phones will lead on total download numbers, iPhone will continue to dominate the market in terms of revenues from paid-for apps, reaching $2.86 billion in 2016, compared to $1.5 billion for Android."

The reach of Android apps will be further supplemented by operator efforts to make purchases simpler. Last month, Vodafone rolled out operator billing for Android apps, meaning users won't have to go through the process of entering credit card details when making a purchase.

The overall app market is set to explode this year. According to Ovum, mobile phone application downloads will exceed 18 billion by the end of 2011, representing 144 per cent growth over 2010.

Furthermore, revenues from paid-for mobile phone apps are set to reach $3.7 billion in 2011, growing 92 per cent over last year, the analyst firm said.

"Consumers' seemingly insatiable demand for mobile applications is set to continue this year, with downloads from app stores increasing around the world," Dillon added.

"The outlook for the longer term is also positive, with consumers set to continue to use apps to add new features to their phones and to access their favorite services on the go."

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