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Android Market to surpass Apple App Store by August: study

With the flood of developers, brands and marketers developing content for Android, research firm research2guidance predicts it will reach 425,000 apps by August, surpassing the Apple App Store.

Although a lot of emphasis has been placed on creating apps for the iPhone, recently brands are increasing their efforts to include Android in their app development and mobile advertising plans. This shift could have major implications for mobile advertisers, app developers and brands.

“Large numbers mean increasing competition, and growing long-tale impact,” said Egle Mikalajunaite, senior research analyst at reasearch2guidance, Berlin.

“It becomes harder and harder for new apps to stand out and become visible,” he said. “Developers and publishers have to search for alternative strategies, aim at minor categories and independent app stores.”

Reasearch2guidance is a market research company specializing in the mobile industry.

Move over Apple
In April, Android added 28,000 new apps, whereas Apple trailed behind with just 11,000 apps.

The Android Market is growing and its user base is bolstering as well so publishers and brands cannot concentrate solely on iOS anymore.

In the early stages of the smartphone app market Apple was the leader and to exist in the app space meant being a part of the Apple App Store. Now, with Android gaining market share, publishers must consider going for that platform as well.

A cross-platform app strategy is key.

For publishers, brands, advertisers and app developers to stand out, it is important to include Android in the multichannel mix.

“Developers cannot ignore the growing potential,” Mr. Mikalajunaite said.

“Besides Android’s openness and the availability to download apps not only from Android Market makes it more attractive for publishers, as they can use more alternative distribution channels and increase their app’s discoverability,” he said.

Although the Android Market has the highest growth rates in terms of app numbers, this does not necessarily mean that an average app developer will have instant revenue gains if they hop on the Android bandwagon.

The success of an app store is negatively correlated to the success of an average developer.

Including the Android Market, analysis on the early months of an app store shows that average download numbers decrease considerably after the first weeks and months of the store’s launch.

The long tail gets longer while the top 5 percent see revenue increase.

Changing strategy for a growing market
A “go niche” strategy will be critical for all publishers who do not have the marketing strength to promote their apps with in-app advertising campaigns or by using existing marketing channels.

For the Android market, “go niche” could mean not submitting an app to a category that sees an influx of new additions every week.

App developers and publishers should also take advantage of specialized Android sub-market locations that allow direct sponsoring possibilities within the store.

Taking advantage of independent app stores could increase reach and place an app in a less numerically competitive environment could also have good end results.

App developers need to shift strategy for surge in platforms

Localization is also key, and app developers and publishers should concentrate on a specific country with the service the app is offering.

Those in the mobile app game should always stay in the know. By staying abreast of changes in the market, app developers and publishers can take advantage of new opportunities before they are commonplace.

Although Apple and now Android are the big players in the app space, there are other smartphone platforms that could inevitably change the dynamic in the mobile app space.

Although they have not gained interest from developers, Symbian is shipping the most devices.

Windows Phone is also finding a place in the market.

“Clearly the market is becoming more fragmented and marketers need to keep that in mind,” Mr. Mikalajunaite said.

With changes in the app space, the smartphone OS will definitely have an impact on marketers

“A multi-platform strategy is a new trend we observe,” Mr. Mikalajunaite said.

Final Take
Mackenzie Allison is the associate reporter at Mobile Commerce Daily