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.
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.
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.
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