The Battle of the Apps: Google vs. Apple

When it comes to Apple and the iPhone, it was a weekend of fear and loathing. From loving Google Voice to Apple’s pending doom, we read it all. While I agree with some of the points that were raised, I see little to no evidence that Apple and its iPhone platform are going to melt down anytime soon. Sure, Google’s Android is going to be a worthy competitor, but it’s likely to wound other mobile ecosystems, such as Symbian and Palm’s Pre, before derailing the speeding freight train being driven by Apple.

Many have already already made a case that Apple isn’t doomed, so I won’t bother. Instead, I would like to let the data from Flurry, a San Francisco-based mobile analytics startup, speak for itself. The data in this report is computed from a sample size of more than 1,600 live applications and 60 million consumers across four platforms: Apple (iPhone and iPod Touch), Google Android, BlackBerry and JavaME.

According to the data collected by Flurry, developer momentum for the iPhone platform shows no sign of abating. The number of iPhone apps is growing 14 percent every month, to stand at roughly 65,000 applications in July. At that rate, Apple’s App Store will have some 100,000 applications by the end of 2009.

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Even more telling is the fact that over 1,000 new applications were started in July vs. less than 100 in January, representing a growth rate of about 30 percent every month.

“New Project Starts” among developers using Flurry Analytics provides a reliable supply-side indicator for the App Store economy. Since Flurry Analytics often is integrated early in an application’s development cycle, as early as six months before a new application ships, measuring this statistic tracks the strength of the application pipeline heading to market.

By that measure, things are looking good for Google as well. According to Flurry, Android saw the number of new application starts top 200 in July. The developer interest in Android OS has spiked –- to the tune of some 50 percent every month — mostly because of the pending release of more than a dozen Android-based phones during 2009. (Related: Will Google Lead the Way in Mobile App Innovation, from GigaOM Pro, subscription required.)

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The growth of Android app starts and the convergence between Apple and Google is a warning sign for Apple to get its act together and start focusing on developers more proactively.

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