Android (s goog) Market has topped the 400,000 app mark, doubling the software available for the smartphone platform in just eight months, according to app analytics firm Distimo. Android Market is still shy of the 500,000-app milestone Apple’s(s appl) App Store hit recently, but it remains behind its biggest OS competitor in more ways than one.
The iTunes App Store is still the destination for developers who want to cash in their the development efforts. The top 200 iOS apps generate four times as much money as the top 200 in Market, and an app developer can expect to make $1 for his wares in iTunes for every 24 cents he makes in Android Market.
A big reason for the discrepancy is the gravitation of developers to offering ‘freemium’ apps in the Market in order to entice initial downloads. As Android Market has doubled the number of apps available since April, the number of free-to-download apps has increased from 60 percent of its total to 68 percent. Distimo found in a separate study that Android developers are much more dependent on that freemium model than Apple devs: 65 percent of the revenue from Market’s top grossing apps are due to upgrades or in-app purchases from freemium apps, while only 50 percent of App Store revenue depend on that freemium model.
Still, Android is making enormous gains in terms of app volume as Google’s platform proliferates around the world. After its initial slow start, Android development took off this year, covering the same ground Apple traversed to reach 400,000 apps in a much shorter time. It’s hard to make a direct comparison based on volume alone, as Apple reviews every app while Google does not. But if its pace keeps up, Market could easily be nipping at the App Store’s heels this year.