ABI: Android is the smartphone app winner, but Apple will rule tablets


In the never-ending quest to handicap the iOS vs Android horse race comes a new flash analysis for 2013 forecasting Android will dominate smartphone apps, while Apple remains the clear leader with tablets. According to ABI Research, Google’s mobile operating system will control 58 percent of smartphone app downloads.

On the other hand, just 33 percent of apps will be for Apple’s iOS. But with only two months into year, the research firm’s findings are being questioned…

Overall, smartphone apps will be downloaded 56 billion times this year, according to the research firm.

But some are questioning ABI’s decision to name Android the smartphone app winner so soon – particularly considering the Apple’s continuing foray into China and its recent decision to offer payment plans as a way to counter low-cost Android handsets.

Along with Apple CEO Tim Cook’s recent comments to investors that China could become the firm’s top market, the iPhone maker and the nation’s largest carrier – China Mobile – are still talking partnerships.

Additionally, recent reports suggest Apple is experimenting with payment plans that could make its smartphone more affordable in nations such as China and India, where a large portion of consumers opt for post-paid, low-cost devices.

Another fly in the ointment when it comes to the ABI figures is that while Android may win the battle of raw smartphone app downloads, Apple is winning the app revenue war.

As TechCrunch points out, veteran app developers keep returning to iOS as a sure cash generator. Then there is the whole issue of iOS covering not just smartphones, but tablets as well.

According to ABI, Apple will have a lock on those apps with 75 percent of the about 14 billion apps meant for devices such as the iPad. That’s compared to all Android tablets (excluding the Kindle Fire) which the research house expects will account for only 17 percent.

Even ABI questions if Android’s success with smartphones can transfer to tablets.

“Arguably the most pressing issue for Google is how much of this handset momentum will ultimately trickle down to tablets, where Apple is holding the fort remarkably well,” ABI analyst Aapo Markkanen notes.