Google Play grows, App Store still cash king

iTunes Store Map apps

What’s better: to be taller or wealthier? Carry that debate to Apple versus Google and you have the latest on the battle between Apple’s App Store and Google Play. While Google’s revenue is growing, Apple’s application store for iOS devices simply overwhelms the Mountain View, California firm in terms of cash, even if there’s another, much darker side to app economy.

During the last four months, Google Play’s combined daily revenue grew at 43 percent compared to the App Store’s 21 percent, according to research firm Distimo. However, over the entire year, App Store revenue rose by 51 percent.

But wait, there’s more. In November, the App Store rang up $15 million in average daily revenue. That compares to $3.5 million for Google Play during the same time…

Another intriguing finding: an increasing percent of App Store revenue is coming from within the app. Last month, in-app payments comprised 69 percent of App Store revenue, up 16 percent from 53 percent in January.

As a result, iPad up-front app prices fell 8 percent compared to the start of 2012, but up 16 percent for the iPhone, according to Distimo (via The Next Web).

Distimo app stores (in-app)

In-app fees are so successful that more than a third of the revenue to top App Store publishers comes through this method.

Wrapping up the revenue picture, the firm announced that while iPad app prices are down, the tablet is fueling revenue growth for the iOS platform. Indeed, daily revenue for iPad apps rose 71 percent during 2012, that compares to a 16 percent increase from iPhone apps.

Distimo app stores (iPad downloads)

While the US and Japan were the #1 and #2 countries, respectively, supplying most App Store revenue, Russia is the most iPad savvy nation, Distimo announced. Russia had 46 percent of iPad downloads during the year.

What were the top apps for 2012?

For Apple’s App Store, the social photo-sharing service Instagram topped the list.

The Facebook-owned service, which recently attempted to quell an online uproar over changes in user agreement, is in a bit of a tug-of-war with Twitter.

The other social media giant landed on the tenth spot.

For Google Play, its Street View app ranked first, with Maps, Gmail and Youtube landing in fourth, fifth and sixth place, respectively.

Here’s Distimo’s list of the top apps by downloads in both app stores:

Top 10 apps 2012: Apple’s App Store

1. Instagram
2. Temple Run
3. Find My iPhone
4. Facebook
5. iBooks
6. Draw Something Free
7. iTunes U
8. YouTube
9. Podcasts
10. Twitter

Top 10 apps 2012: Google’s Play Store

1. Street View
2. Facebook
3. Voice Search
4. Maps
5. Gmail
6. YouTube
7. Adobe Flash Player
8. Skype
9. WhatsApp Messenger
10. KakaoTalk

What’s your favorite App Store app?

And can Apple learn something from the design and features of Google’s store?