Half of top US iPad apps not available or ready for Android tablets

By , Aug 15, 2013

Google Play CSR

What with Android having a numerical edge on Apple’s iOS, chances are good that popular iPad apps will find their way to Google’s Play store, right? To the contrary, just half of the hundred most popular iPad apps in the US are available for Android tablets, according to a research firm Wednesday.

Of the top hundred iPad apps in the US App Store, thirty don’t even appear on Google Play and eighteen more are not optimized for Android tablets, just smartphone versions cartoonishly displayed on a larger screen….

“Quite simply, building high-quality app experiences for Android tablets has not been among many developers’ top priorities to date,” said Canalys senior analyst Tim Shepherd.

More than 375,000 apps in Apple’s App Store are designed specifically for the iPad. By comparison, only a small number – “in the low tens of thousands” – of Google Play apps are optimized for Android tablets, Shepherd said.

iPad App Store (search 001)

The statement only puts a finer point on the reluctance of developers to support Android. Not only do iPad owners use apps more frequently than Android tablet owners, but iPad app support results in more revenue for developers.

This last point is reflected in another finding by the analytics firm: Android tablet apps on Google Play are more likely to be cheap free imitations of paid iOS alternatives.

Per Canalys:

While nominally free, set against a paid version of the app, ad-supported offerings typically deliver a poorer and often more limited user experience, sometimes taking a considerable toll on device battery life and often subjecting users to unskippable videos or other unpopular intrusions.

Yep, sign me up for some of those unpopular intrusions.

The result: the average iPad app costs 50 cents and the average Android app just pennies, it’s evident Google Play tablet owners are unwilling to pay for apps and developers unwilling to work at attracting them. That’s why Google Play emphasizes the number of downloads, not the revenue.

That has to change, Canalys warns.

Tim Cook (iPad 3 keynote, Android apps)
CEO Tim Cook pokes fun of blown up smartphone apps on Android tablets.

The research firm explains:

It is important that Google wins consumers’ trust and encourages them to register credit cards and billing details, so that the barrier to them spending money on apps – and other content – is reduced at the point of purchase.

For what it’s worth, Google’s been bringing carrier billing on Play store to a growing number of telcos, though consumers can also pay for apps by allowing Google to directly charge their credit card on file. Apple does not support carrier billing on the App Store.

Still, Apple’s iTunes billing is so frictionless that developers and other businesses virtually salivate at the thought of the millions of credit cards iTunes has available. For Android owners, Google making it easier to buy apps will also improve the quality of apps downloaded.

Finally, once money is coming into Google Play, developers will take note. At that time, we should read more about revenue of the Android marketplace, not simply downloads.

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  • VATekMan

    Very misleading… If you look at the top 20 for each paid and free, you will notice that the ones that they list, a good majority of them are Apple Apps. Of course the apple app is not going to be on the Google Play Store. Then you start getting into other apps, where maybe a specific app is on Apple, but there is just as good of one on Android.

    That being said, there are several very glaring apps that Android is missing. Personally, I would love to see something like Garage Band on Android, but oh well…

    Things are reaching a point where the two environments are very similar, so we are just nit picking to say when one is better than the other…

  • MHCsk

    Lol, the dog image.

  • Freddy Born

    This is why I am on iOS. The APPS.

    And btw. Since when does my cousin work for google?

  • Osama Muhammed

    a simple screen size reference to build for android

    • Brody Boswell

      Screen size has nothing to do with it, its resolution that matters and there are less than ten popular resolutions.

    • VATekMan

      I really hate when this argument is thrown about… Do you know how many different sizes there are for computer monitors, and yet many very large companies write software that works on all of them… The screen size argument is just lazy developers. If there were no tools to accommodate those screen sizes, that would be on thing, but there are. And any good developer knows how to do that. Don’t forget all those websites out there, how on earth do they deal with all those different screen sizes looking at their webpage… People must be crazy to want to develop a website…

      • Julio Cesar

        I’m developer, there’s ways to make the app organize on any resolution, but in Android the real problem is the skin / theme fragmentation… Every manufacturer have their UI, every clean Android version have their UI…

        I don’t want to include a lot of interfaces to adapt to any manufacturer and version theme, the size of the app would be really huge… And I don’t want to use the latest clean Android interface by the fact that most of the devices are still running very old versions…

        So if I develop for Android, what should I choose?
        Look at the apps on the PlayStore, a lot of crappy interfaces… Why? Because they don’t know what choose and try to create something neutral, but most of the time results on something really ugly…

        Of course we already saw magnificent and unique interfaces without any relation with the system UI (especially on iOS), but how on Android is easy and inexpensive to put something you can profit (ugly as it is) a lot of developers develop ugly things and lay there in the price they want, and believe me, there are those who buy! (and regret)

  • Brody Boswell

    I think apps wise both android and iOS are pretty equal , each have there own great apps and a lot they share. Its games where iOS easily defeats android, the only advantage android has games wise is games with a more mature rating ( e.g games where you grow marijuana) and emulators ( where android easily beats even jailbroken iOS)

    • Chazy Ronnie

      Sorry bro i have GS4 & iPhone 5 and i can tell you this Android apps may have closely same amount of apps to iOS BUT Android apps are crap not as polisded, functional and organized as the one in iOS. Most apps on iOS are just so much pretty and fluid compare to Android.

      • Brody Boswell

        Gotta disagree mate, while their are definetly lots of terrible apps nearly all holo apps are beautiful and functional ( actually due to the more open os android apps are often more functional than ios apps). Your experience could be related to having a 1080 p display, which is still relatively new for android devs, so that some apps may not work with your device.

      • mehrab

        So your point is “IT YOUR fault why”d you get a 1080p phone bla bl” and no look wise and performance wise and in some apps feature wise ios is superior the advantage android has is sharing but ios 7 solves that problem more apps to share to and the share sheet on ios 6 is limited but more functinal and better to use

      • mehrab

        I have been telling this to people for a while

    • Zero

      I don’t know you serious about that, but have you lately check out the App Store?, clearly I can see newer games land on iOS first than android,not just that ,iOS hardware is superior when comes down to games, and other things, and its matter fact there is a game that you can grow your own marijuana on iOS, and also that’s a paid app on android, same goes with the emulator, so what’s your point

    • mehrab

      More apps on the appstore better apps on the appstore more exclusives on the appstore like iwork ilife infinity blade. Better gaming. App wise more better apps more better looking more fluid

  • Jay Phillips

    My first game was developed on Android and what a pain in the butt that was. So many different screen sizes and densities, vastly different hardware and ram. The performance was terrible on one device, excellent on another, not enough ram or not enough processor power. To get it to work on just the Nook, the Kindle fire, and Nexus 7 I basically had to write two versions to compensate for larger screens taking longer to scroll and not having enough memory to load the background as a continuous image.

    After I rewrote it for iOS OMG it was so much easier! So little difference from one device to the next. With only minor changes I got it to work on the iPod 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5. And with just a little more work the iPad mini, though it doesn’t scale well to the retina iPads yet. I will NEVER write another Android app. Not worth the effort. Unless its some utility app I write just for personal use.