2011 could be the first year that Google’s Android overtakes Apple’s iOS in total number of app downloads, according to research firm Ovum. Ovum expects Android users to download 35% more apps than iOS users this year.
Android users are forecast to download 8.1 billion apps this year, compared to the 6 billion forecast for iOS users. This represents significant growth for both platforms. iOS users downloaded 2.7 billion apps in 2010, and Android users 1.4 billion apps.
Ovum also reported that total mobile app downloads, across all platforms, is expected to grow 144% this year.
“Consumers’ seemingly insatiable demand for mobile applications is set to continue this year, with downloads from app stores increasing around the world.” Nick Dillon, Ovum analyst
Android’s rise is unsurprising given the surge in its market share and the number of phone manufacturers using the operating system. comScore reported that Android’s share of the US market had risen to 42% in July 2011, compared to 27% for Apple’s iOS. And six manufacturers — Dell, HTC, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, and Samsung — make 42 smartphones using the Android operating system.
Android has also benefited as independent app stores, such as GetJar and Amazon’s App Store, have emerged to provide additional sources and marketing for Android apps.
“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 favourite services on the go.” Nick Dillon, Ovum analyst
However, its not all good news for Android. Despite Android users downloading more apps in total, Ovum says that iOS apps are still ahead and will stay ahead when it comes to paid for apps. Revenues from iOS app sales are expected to hit $2.86 billion by 2016, compared to $1.5 billion for Android app sales. By that time Android app downloads are expected to reach 21.8 billion, while iOS app downloads will be 11.6 billion.