Despite the recent introduction of several rivals, Apple’s App Store is “miles ahead of the competition,” according to a study released Monday.
Apple’s store, created in 2008 for iPhone and iPod touch owners, was compared against similar offerings by Google, Microsoft, RIM and others phone developers.
The Apple App Store has succeeded in attracting developers and surpassing the “number, variety and appeal of applications available,” announced the Global Intelligence Group.
The report compared Apple’s App Store with the BlackBerry App Store from RIM, Google’s Android Marketplace, Microsoft’s Windows Mobile SkyMarket, the webOS Software Store for Palm’ Pre handset and Nokia’s Ovi Apps store for Symbian phones.
Apple and Google both received a “strong” ranking in terms of App Stores already offering software to customers. Apple’s App Store was created July 2008 and lists more than 15,000 applications for the more than 17 million iPhones and iPod touch devices.
By comparison, Google’s Android Marketplace, launched in February, offers around 141 applications for an estimated 300,000 T-Mobile G1 handsets sold up to Dec. 31 of 2008.
RIM and Nokia’s application platforms were deemed “medium” while Microsoft and Palm garned “weak” ratings. While RIM and Nokia app stores are expected to open soon, both Microsoft and Palm applications sales likely won’t open until late this year, according to Apple Insider.
GIG also looked at other factors to base their assessment, including which shops could best attract developers. “Clarity and transparency of software developer kits, approval processes” were named among the areas viewed as important to gain developers.
As for developers, Apple, Google, RIM and Nokia were rated as “strong” with Microsoft and Palm seen as “medium.”
However, the strength of Windows Mobile and the Symbian smartphone platforms worked to Micsoft’s and Nokia’s advantages, both companies judged as “strong” in terms of platform adoption.
Apple ranked highly when it came to the user interface and the ease of downloads and installation.
“Apple emerges strong here, while also dominant in integrating user popularity ratings and top downloads list,” the report said. Nokia was also credited for its “smart approach” to customizing applications to fit user preferences. Palm, the researchers noted, need to live up to positive reviews of their webOS.