Owners of Apple’s iPad quickly adopted the App Store as their home, downloading three billion apps in 2010 and virtually obliterating Android alternatives. The iPad accounted for nearly one out over every five Apple apps downloaded, according to new research.
What’s more, the iPad accomplished in one and a half years what took two years for the iPhone. But when it came to head-to-head competition against current Android tablets, the Apple device blew past rivals like they were standing still, ABI Research said.
Android tablets downloaded just 440 million apps so far, the researchers found. A big reason is the iPad “still offers much more compared to the current crop of tablets in the market.” In a race for consumer dollars, Android tablets are mostly powered by older versions of the Google mobile software.
“Android is currently being used on many low end tablets that do not offer experiences anywhere near the iPad and this dampens the download momentum for users,” research associate Lim Shiyang said. In other words, Android players are hobbled by devices using old software to compete against cutting-edge iOS apps from Apple.
Little wonder why the 120,000 apps specific to the iPad greatly outnumber the apps for rival Android tablets. But that could change with Google’s Android 4.0, carrying the sophomoric codename “Ice Cream Sandwich.” (That would make iOS 5 “Chocolate Sundae with Cherry On Top and Smothered With Whip Cream and Sprinkles”, perhaps?)
At any rate, if Android 4.0 can make it onto more non-Apple tablets, the iPad could have more competition than just Amazon’s Kindle Fire, the research firm forecasts. Helped along by a more modern platform, Android smartphones are expected to download 58 billion apps each year by 2016, topping the 27 billion expected iPhone downloads.
As for Android 4.0 on tablets, we could see how well it fares in a few months. The Chinese-built Novo7 is reported to arrive in the U.S. with a $99 price tag and 7-inch touchscreen. While this may pressure Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire in terms of an Android tablet that actually works, much less certain is how it will compare with the iPad.
The problem with Android arriving so late to the tablet party is that consumers now expect all others to look and behave like the iPad.
Image: David Cleland