Google: Android Apps Have Tripled to Nearly Half a Million Since Last Year

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Google has something to boast about at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Last year, it used the event to announce that its Android Market had accrued an impressive 150,000 apps. Today, the company announced that the number has tripled.

That figure lags a little behind the number of iOS apps in the App Store — which, according to Apple, currently rests at about 500,000. Google also said that the Android Market sees 1 billion downloads every month and that 850,000 Android devices are activated every day, bringing the current total to 300 million worldwide.

(MORE: 50 Best iPhone Apps 2012)

So, how impressive are those numbers? Tripling in growth over the course of one year is no small feat. Still, Android dominates iOS when it comes to smartphone market share, with Android taking making up 46.9% of the market compared to Apple’s 28.7% (tablet market share, however, is another story).

Despite the advantage Android has in market share, developers still find Apple’s App Store more appealing than Google’s Android Market. Why is that? It has a lot to do with money.

Simply put, iOS users are more willing to spend money on apps than Android users. The Android Market features a much higher percentage of free apps than the App Store, and in order to make a profit in a market where users expect things for free, developers end up having to charge more for their paid apps.

A survey by Canalys, a market research firm, showed that the top 100 paid apps for Android cost, on average, 2.5 times the amount of the top 100 paid apps for iOS. A full 82% of iOS paid apps cost only 99 cents, compared to only 22% of Android paid apps. Yes, reaching 450,000 apps is a great milestone, but actually making money off them would be even more impressive.

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