Android has overtaken Apple's iOS to become the market share leader in mobile application downloads, according to ABI Research. The market shares of Android and iOS were 44% and 31%, respectively.
Lim Shiyang, research associate, said: "Being a free platform has expanded the Android device install base, which in turn has driven growth in the number of third party multi-platform and mobile operator app stores. These conditions alone explain why Android is the new leader in the mobile application market."
Growth in iPhone shipments in Q2 2011 slowed to 9% from 15% a quarter earlier. Meanwhile, Android smartphone shipments increased 36% in Q2 2011, compared to 20% in Q1, according to ABI Research. Android's install base now exceeds iOS by a factor of 2.4:1 worldwide. By 2016 this factor is expected to have grown to 3:1.
Global app downloads for year-end 2011 are expected to balloon to 29 billion, compared to only nine billion in 2010. Such stellar increases are largely due to the proliferation of smartphones around the world. The total smartphone install base is expected to grow 46% in 2011.
In spite of Apple's strength in the smartphone market, Android is fast becoming a strong platform. Organisations jumping on the "me too" iPhone Apps bandwagon must offer Android apps or risk alienating large sections of their target customer base. With the Mango release of Windows Mobile and the Nokia Lumia handset, CIOs should also consider targeting the Microsoft platform as well. Far from being a "wouldn't it be nice on my iPhone" feature driven by enthusiastic marketing executives, cross-platform mobile apps are costly to develop and test, and involve serious in-house IT expertise. They certainly should not be considered on-off creative agency led projects.