The Problem With Android Market's Growth

Android Market continues to grow its library in a big way, reaching 20,000 apps and doubling its library in just the last five months. But as Google’s storefront begins to nip at the heels of Apple’s App Store, it will need to find better ways of letting customers find what they’re looking for on its increasingly crowded shelves.

Android has gained impressive momentum in the last few months thanks to Verizon Wireless’ $100 million marketing effort and an expanding worldwide footprint. That growth will continue to be mirrored by Android Market, which will see fivefold growth in its app library next year, outpacing development for the iPhone, according to IDC. And the competition continues to heat up as Apple and Google release the latest versions of their mobile operating systems.

But as developers for Apple’s 100,000-app storefront have already learned, a massive app store makes for a rotten shopping experience for consumers. Users often have to sort through countless titles to find what they’re looking for, and reviews and ranking systems often favor popular offerings at the expense of newer, lesser-known titles. Which is why developers are increasingly looking to market their apps (GigaOM Pro, sub. required) to attract attention in the ever-expanding app-store portfolios. The discoverability problem is only going to get worse for Android over the next few months as its library expands, and Google’s laissez faire strategy of supporting nearly any app does nothing to help separate the mobile wheat from the chaff for consumers. Google seems well on its way to following Apple’s lead in becoming a massive distributor of mobile apps, but it must find innovative ways to enhance discoverability if it is to improve on Cupertino’s App Store.

Image courtesy Flickr user benmarvin.

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