Apple’s iPad (s aapl) is far and away the high-water mark when it comes to tablet applications, and a new report Wednesday says it just passed an impressive milestone. Users of Apple’s 9.7-inch touchscreen device are said to have downloaded approximately 3 billion apps since the product’s launch in 2010, according to ABI Research.
The study found the iPad represented 19 percent of total App Store downloads since the device’s launch, and the iPad reached the 3 billion mark around six months faster than the iPhone, which took two years to register that many app downloads. The iPad outperformed its internal competition, but it obliterated external challengers: ABIresearch says Android (s aapl) tablet devices have only seen around 400 million downloads to date.
ABI associate Lim Shiyang belives that Android’s significant deficit when it comes to dedicated tablet app downloads is at least in part attributable to OS fragmentation. According to Shiyang:
Many Android tablets in the market are still using older versions of Android, which disadvantages users from enjoying the better effects of apps produced from more advanced software development kits.
More choice and better quality overall also contribute to Apple’s advantage, ABI says, pointing out that during the third quarter of 2011, there were 120,000 apps published specifically for the iPad platform. Compare that to 400,000 total titles available on the Android Market for both smartphone and tablet devices, according to figures released Wednesday.