1. Computing
Daniel Nations

iOS vs Android: A Battle of Quality vs Quantity?

By May 12, 2011

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Do iPad sales hint at the superior quality of apps found in the Apple App Store verses the Android Marketplace?

Consider this: There are now more free Android apps than free iPhone and iPad apps. Last month, Distimo reported 134,342 free Android apps compared to 132,239 iOS apps, 121,845 of which were iPhone or Universal apps.

And in the smartphone arena, Android is also winning in the court of public opinion. When asked what type of phone consumers would purchase next, more people are naming Android, according to a Nielsen study.

The Android platform overtaking the iPhone is not a great surprise. Open platforms tend to beat closed platforms, and just as "IBM Compatible" PCs swept the Mac under the table, a host of Android smartphones were bound to knock iOS from its perch.

But in the tablet arena, Android is finding it difficult to gain traction. As highly touted and advertised as the Android-based Xoom was when it was released, Motorola is reporting around 200,000 units shipped, with some analysts believing sales to be even more modest, putting the number at just over 100,000.

Apple's iPad 2 sold a million units in its first weekend.

A Review of the iPad 2

What's the difference?

A smartphone is, first and foremost, a phone. It's also a portable music player. And, of course, it runs apps.

A tablet computer is not a phone. And being a bit too large to fit into a pocket, it's also not a portable music player.

A tablet computer runs apps. It is the ability to run those apps -- and the quality of those apps -- that really drives sales. And that is where the iPad reigns supreme. The Android Marketplace may have surpassed Apple's App Store in terms of the number of free apps, and no doubt they'll soon pass them in both free and paid apps, but they haven't surpassed the iPad in terms of quality apps.

There are really good Android apps. Make no mistake about that. But the Android Marketplace has no controls in place to ensure at least a minimal level of quality, which has led to an overabundance of really bad apps. This has created a cycle where Android customers do not purchase as many apps, which in turn drives some quality app developers away from the platform, knowing that the investment of building the app might not pay off.

15 Must-Have iPad Apps

Could Amazon be the Android Savior?

Amazon's recently opened Android Appstore mirrors the Apple App Store in terms of quality control. They both inspect apps, ensuring at least a minimal level of quality, stamping out potential malware and making sure the app's description is at least somewhat in line with what the app actually does.

This has led many to speculate that Amazon could be building an Android-based tablet that actually could trade sales with Apple's iPad. And while this might be a little premature, Amazon is on the right path. It will take quality apps to knock the iPad off its perch.

Follow me on Twitter: @DanielNations

May 12, 2011 at 4:38 pm
(1) honkj says:

——- Open platforms tend to beat closed platforms,———-

this is proven false sentiment, no matter how many times it is repeated, a customer has never asked a sales person whether their product they are about to purchase is “open” or not.

to prove the point, according to you the iPod is “closed” yet the most popular system.

the iPhone is “closed” and yet the most popular system, (despite your assumptions, the iPhone and iOS still leads in both unit sales, revenue sales, profits sells, and every measure inbetween) including last quarter sales, where the Nelson report should have taken hold but did not. Apple selling 18.67 million units, far more than the next 5 Android competitors COMBINED.

the iPad is a “closed” system, but will never be knocked off its perch either…

so obviously your assumption of a false sentiment is just ignorance of what consumers want.

the Mac was not displaced by “open”, Mac’s to this day would have more market share, if it wasn’t for Apple kicking out the one person in charge of innovation, now that that has been reversed, you see continual grabs of large market share, from a CLOSED SYSTEM….

as i said, no customer cares whether their purchase is open or closed, just that it is innovative and does it well. (except for a few geeks living in their mom’s basement)

May 12, 2011 at 4:59 pm
(2) ipad says:

Everyone is welcome to their opinion, however, you did misstate a few things:

1) I never referred to the iPod as a closed system.

2) I compared the sales figures of the iPhone to Android-based smartphones, not iOS to Android. Those are not the same comparisons.

May 12, 2011 at 9:13 pm
(3) Sam says:

“What’s the difference?”

The huge mistake you made was taking the ordinary poeple, trying to pick their next mobile/tablet/system, as professional as a technical person, who actually knows more about the systems than average people. “sales” is not everything. The fact that something is being sold more rapidly and is being accepted by the majority of the community does not guarantee the superior quality. That’s exactly the same for the ‘ideas’ being sold by marketing or political strategies. Being in the lead in sales not only does not indicate the superior quality, but it can be accounted for its mediocrity. That’s what Apple fanboys do not understand. They think just because Apple’s crappy products sell good, they are actually good! otherwise why they would sell good?! Of course an idiot walking into a computer store does not ask if the system s/he is buying is ‘open’ or not! We always need idiots like honkj.

May 12, 2011 at 9:26 pm
(4) ip says:

Yeah honkj u suck ass. n wait for future n see who is right. N be respectful. Better wait take ur iphone n shove it up ur u know where ;)

May 12, 2011 at 11:32 pm
(5) carlos says:

Oh come on hunk. You did made some mistakes here. Ios is not the best selling os in the market man. Android is. Android has 34% of the smartphone market of the u.s and about 37% of the world’s smartphones market so there you have it. Android is the most popular mobile os in earth.

May 13, 2011 at 3:23 am
(6) princessxena says:

ip, there is no need for that type of language. Grow up! Everyone is entitled to their opinions get used to the real world instead of living in a cocoon.

May 13, 2011 at 10:49 am
(7) MattDanger says:

The idea that the iPod is a “closed” system isn’t a relevant comparison: the primary use of the iPod is as a music player and there aren’t any true “open” architecture music players (of much significance). The device can play the same music that every other device can, and because of form factor, usability, and marketing the device has outsold any competitor.
The IBM-compatible example is a good one though, and many manufacturers were able to produce a flood of machines that could perform the same/similar functionality.
A better comparison (than the iPod one) is the gas-powered car vs. the electric-powered car. Would anyone in a $4/gal economy buy a car without first giving some thought to the Hybrid model? Electric cars have been around for a while (remember the EV lines of GM and Honda? I didn’t think you would), but there are many more “open architecture” gasoline-powered models available, each with their own set of features and trim to choose from.
The impact, to an uninformed and inexperienced consumer, is a hard decision that goes against the marketing machine. (“Look at this sale at Best Buy”, “There are so many choices available on size, shape and color”, “It’s what my friend has, and I trust him.”)
There are a lot of dollars being spent (it seems) right now by many different companies promoting their different Android phones. Only one company funds the marketing for iOS.

August 20, 2011 at 11:54 pm
(8) Shinto says:

Open or Closed source is “Geek Metrics”
worthless in the real world.
since geeks do not power the economy by any measurable number.

So ignore all these articles about the relevance of Open Source and Closed Source in the consumer world.

September 11, 2011 at 6:35 am
(9) Bayan Rafeh says:

Actaully it is relevant, not as in open source/closed source, but as in open platform as in not restricted to the products it’s distributed with.

Naturally as an open source platform, Android can have multiple companies behind it just like Linux has big name companies behind it like IBM. Since iOS is a closed platform, it doesn’t have the financial backing android has, which makes it relevant here.

When you see 4 different android phones and 1 iPhone you’re more likely to pick an android phone due to the choice( if we were gonna go for a random phone), that’s what he meant

September 12, 2011 at 11:40 pm
(10) blanket says:

The reason proper choose ups is for its integration and connectivity to other Apple products.

November 2, 2011 at 2:26 am
(11) thrilla says:

I believe that the Android sales are more driven by availability and convenience. A person normally wont leave their current carrier to go and get an iPhone, and once the iPhone has come out with their carrier they have already gotten used to the functionality of the current phone they have. Android is great at what it does! iPhone is great at what it does! I would honestly say that if you gave a person a choice who didnt know anything about phones the choice between the two after allowing them to play with them (in absolute solitude and no bias), they would choose the iPhone. Its just really simple and has so many less problems than the Android systems, and it is a lot more uniformed. People who know a lot more would love an Android phone (well many people who know alot more) because the specs, but once another phone comes out the one you have in your hand is obsolete and if upgraded may begin to screw up

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