Phones Review

Android better market share but iPhone apps preferred

Under: Apple iPhone, Google Android
By:Debbie Turner | September 28th, 2012

Today we have news for you of a really interesting insight about Android and iPhone apps that comes from a tech enthusiast and Android user. Despite the fact that Android smartphones have a bigger share of the market, with recent statistics showing Android at 52.2% and Apple’s iOS at 33.4%, this particular Android device owner is honest enough to say that he prefers iPhone apps. Taking in mind the usual Android vs. iOS debate and the fierce loyalty it evokes in many people, that’s quite an admission.

Sascha Segan is a well-known and respected tech writer for PCMag and points out that while he normally uses an Android device he also tests the iPhone and iPad for parts of the year. This very much comes from someone in the know then, which makes it all the more intriguing as Android-loving Segan concedes that he favors iOS apps, particularly gaming apps. He feels that developers also prefer iOS because there’s less fragmentation, more developers receiving payment for their work and not as much piracy and that this all makes iOS efforts easier.

This leads, he feels, to the top third party iOS apps being of better quality and abundance than Android apps despite the extreme competition of one platform over another to be the best. We recently gave details of a market share survey that revealed the figures above, and it was evident that both platforms are still increasing their share of the market despite competition from Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS, RIM’s BlackBerry OS and Symbian. In fact those three platforms only achieved less than 14% of the market when added together.

Android still has a big lead over iOS though. However we should remember that Apple’s iPhone iterations are the only smartphones using iOS while many manufacturers make a plentiful variety of Android phones. Still, as Google’s Android is so far ahead you might imagine its apps might also be leading from the front. Segan goes into some detail about exactly why he feels Apple’s apps are preferable and firstly considers the App Store to be easier to browse and search than the Google Play Store.

He also takes into account that many of the leading developing teams have come up with a considerable amount more apps for iOS than for Android. For instance EA Sports has 106 iOS apps compared to only 27 Android ones while Gameloft sports 161 apps for the iPhone but only 48 Android apps. Another thing to consider is, as we’ve seen examples of time and time again, that many popular gaming apps in particular only reach the Android platform, some months or even years after they become available on iOS. As we reported at the time, Temple Run is a classic example of this and we had many readers commenting on its absence on Android for so long.

As well as all this Segan also feels that many iOS apps simply look better than their Android alternatives and points to the CNN app as an instance of this. He regards the Android version as perfectly acceptable but notes the bigger images, nicer background and time stamps of the iOS app as proving this point. What’s more Segan wonders if Android apps can ever be improved enough to equal those on iOS, particularly when thinking about the amount of Android fragmentation with a huge amount of different devices and variants and the fact that Android apps have to be tested for more than 50 versions of codes to suit differing screen sizes and processors. By contrast developers creating apps for iOS can concentrate purely on factors such as “fit and finish.”

We should remember that although Segan concludes he is envious of iOS apps he is not condemning all Android apps, indeed noting there are many very good ones that he enjoys using. It’s just that attempting to look from a completely unbiased view he feels that iOS apps have the edge. This is sure to provoke strong feelings amongst Android and iOS devotees and we’d really like to hear your views on Segan’s insight into the world of apps.

Are you an avid Android fan who secretly admires the choice and quality of iOS apps or maybe you don’t agree with Segan at all and are perfectly happy with the Android apps available? Perhaps you’re an iPhone user and some of that choice is to do with the quality of the iOS platform and its apps? We’re intrigued to hear from readers on this so let us have all your comments.

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  • jnffarrell1

    If the top 10% of Apps remain better, he’ll feel the same (Apple Apps are best) next year.

  • disqus_hpb3UjCUQ3

    android is the best! not only because of apps we can say it is bad, android has already 675000 apps while app store is only more with 700000! 675000 is already verry hige and you won’t get annoyed as you can change apps on your phone at thge time that you like!!! android apps has high quality , and now sales are increasing, a keyboard on android for 5$ on play store ( swift key) is enjoying 1000000 to 5000000 downloads!!! and today android has got many ios apps! however android as a os offers huge features forgotten in ios and at least it is not overly overpriced! thanks google for android! it is a jewel!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=743818678 Marvin Nakajima

    Perhaps as more devices hit the 4.0 versions of Android and Apps are developed for specifically 4.0+ there will be apps at the same level or above. As the current trend for most apps is to get the largest grouping by targeting a lower common API levels there are limits to what can be done comfortably and as a result impact the ‘finish’ of a game. I’m curious to see how games/apps that will be optimized for the iPhone5 will work on other iOS devices. Specifically those designed with the larger screen estate in mind.

  • Sudo

    I’m a user of both Android and iOS and I agree. It takes more effort for dev because there are so many versions of Android out there (most are not on ICS or Jelly Bean), but not only the OS but way too many devices out there. I hope Android solves this problem so we can enjoy the cheaper devices.

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