As Google and Apple continue their battle for mobile dominance through their Android and iOS operating systems, a pair of new studies report some interesting findings.
The first, a report by Xyologic, finds that “iPhone is for games, Android is for apps.” It found that of the top 150 downloads in November from the Apple App Store, 100 were games, and game downloads outnumbered app downloads by nearly a 3-1 margin (71.5 million to 25.6 million). Only one app developer (Instagram maker Burbn) was on the list of top 25 publishers of 2011 — the rest were game-makers.
On the Android side, 85 of November’s top 150 were apps, and those outnumbered game downloads by an almost mirror image 3-1 ratio (91.5 million apps to 33.4 million games). A number of game-makers were among the year’s top 25 publishers, but that list was topped by Google and Facebook, and included app developers such as Adobe, Skype and Yahoo, all of whom were missing from the Apple list.
(Personal note: That sounds about right — I have significantly more games on my iPad than on my Android phone.)
What’s it all mean? That the Apple platform is more friendly to game developers, for one, reports Venture Beat. Xyologic co-founder Matthaus Krzykowski tells them that payment issues have kept developers from the Android market, which tends to monetize more through advertising, while Apple games lean toward the booming free-to-play model where users purchase upgrades within the game. But Dan Rowinski at RedWriteWeb wonders if there’s a more sociological reason — are Apple users more affluent and do they have more free time on their hands?
Apple users certainly spend more money on apps. That was the finding in a second study, by analysis firm Distimo, that compared the top 200 apps in both the Apple and Android markets. Based on those sales, the combined App Store for iPhone and iPad reaped six times the revenue of Google’s Android market despite Android’s wide lead in smartphone market share. Distimo co-founder Remco van den Elzen tells Wired that he attributes the difference to ease of use — “Google Checkout is considered to be more cumbersome than iTunes.” With Apple, “the threshold for purchasing the first application is lower,” he said.
While none of this data is particularly new or groundbreaking, it is interesting to note the differences between the two platforms, and where future opportunities may lie.