Google Play outpaces iOS' App Store for third year

Android holds the largest smartphone marketshare around the world, and therefore marks an important platform for developers to reach the biggest audience possible. The app store which accompanies Google's mobile OS has seen meteoric growth, but has trailed behind Apple's iOS in submitted apps due to its later launch.

The latest report from appFigures points towards a change of tides as the Google Play store surpassed the iOS App Store for new applications submitted for the first time in 2014. Even more interesting is that the growth of the developer community on Android has outpaced that of Apple's for the third consecutive year with apps from over 388,000 different developers (compared to Apple's 282,000 developers.)

Both of the major app stores are growing at a promising pace, with iOS seeing just over 50% growth. Google's Play Store trumped Apple's by an impressive margin with 150% growth over the previous year. The newcomer on the block, the Amazon Appstore, is also doing well on Android with around 90% growth over the previous year.

Google Play now features 1.43 million apps in its catalogue, compared to 1.21 million on the iOS App Store. Amazon's Appstore, which launched in 2011, is a distant third with 293,000 apps. It is Amazon's catching-up to apps which will be a big factor in its apparent growth.

appFigures report takes a look at the five categories on each store which has witnessed the biggest growth in 2014 which could provide an insight into each platform's typical user. The top five on iOS were Business, Food & Drink, Lifestyle, Social Networking, and Catalogues. The top five on Android were Games, Photography, Music, Business, and Entertainment.

iOS still dominates the enterprise, according to Good Technology's Mobility Index Report, which could be the reason for the top categories on the platform are orientated towards the professional. Android users appear to lean more towards entertainment-based categories on the whole according to these results.

A big reason behind Apple's dominance in the enterprise is due to iOS devices being secure out-of-the-box and instant updates available to all devices when a flaw is patched. Android is often-criticised as users have to wait months for the latest OS update to hit their devices.

Google works around this limitation through bundling most of its latest APIs in Play Services to improve compatibility, and has unbundled most of its core apps from the OS in order to be updateable through the Play Store so users are able to get the company's latest experiences without waiting for the annual update. 

Are you surprised by the growth of the Play Store? Let us know in the comments.

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