App study trolls Android tablets to pander to iPad App Store

App study trolls Android tablets to pander to iPad App Store
No doubt, you see studies like this all the time, and the conclusions that people draw from those studies are always silly. Well, Canalys has looked at the top 50 free and paid apps for iPad in the Apple App Store and compared those results to Android tablet offerings in the Google Play Store. Not surprisingly, there are a number of iPad apps that either don't exist or aren't optimized for Android tablets. 

If you look around the web, you'll see plenty of bait-riddled headlines proclaiming that half of the top iPad apps either aren't available or aren't optimized for Android tablets. And, based on this skewed study, that claim is true. But of course, if you were to look at the case from the other side, the data wouldn't look so good for Apple either. To be fair, there is good information here, and there are important points that can be draw, but to do a one-sided study like this and automatically jump to conclusions is irresponsible at best. 

iPad top apps vs Android

Canalys found that out of the top 100 iPad apps (top 50 free + top 50 paid), 30 of those apps flat out don't exist for Android tablets. Of course, you should keep in mind that 11 of those 30 are apps made by Apple, so there's no way you should expect those apps to exist on Android anyway. That leaves 19 out of the top 100 that aren't available right now for Android. We say right now, because if you had done this study at a different time, the results would be different, because some of the top iPad apps that aren't on Android will eventually come to Android, like FIFA Soccer 13. 

It should also be kept in mind that just because a specific app from a specific developer isn't available on Android doesn't mean that there are no viable alternatives to said app. For example, the app listed at number 3 on the top free iPad apps list is a calculator app, of which there are dozens to choose from on Android. Similarly, Notability is number 6 on the top paid iPad apps list, but obviously there are plenty of note taking apps available for Android, just not that specific one. That said, a number of the apps that aren't available on Android would be pretty nice, like Amazon Instant Streaming, and NBC Universal.

We decided to take a look at the Google Play Store on our Nexus 10, and see what things would look like if you switched the perspective. Right off the bat, 5 out of the top 10 paid apps for Android tablets don't exist on iPad, because iOS doesn't support widgets, alternative launchers, or alternative keyboards. Going further, 19 of the top 50 paid apps for Android tablets don't exist on iPad. The number is far less with free apps, because the vast majority of those are cross-platform, but even so the numbers come out to be the same (once you remove Apple apps from the count). 

Developer apathy

The Canalys study does however show some interesting information that points to a continually annoying problem for Android tablet users: developer apathy. Canalys found that even of the top iPad apps that were available on Android, 18% were not properly optimized for Android tablets at all (Canalys did count apps that were even slightly optimized, even if they don't look good like Facebook or Twitter.) Combine that number with the developers who have apps that should be on Android (EA, NBC, Amazon, etc) but either don't or push apps to Android well after iOS, and you get a glimpse at the real problem. 

Every developer has its own reasons for not bringing certain apps or games to Android, or not putting as much in resources towards Android development as is put towards iOS, but in many cases it comes down to money. We've seen the numbers time and again that Apple's App Store flat out brings in more revenue than Google Play, although Google Play is growing at a much faster rate. 

Developers like Twitter and Facebook have no excuse. Amazon most likely wants to keep its streaming service on its own Android-based platform, Kindle Fire. But for game developers like EA, it likely comes down to the cost of development compared to the likely return on investment. Even that can be tricky though. Maybe the development for something like FIFA Soccer 13 isn't worth it because Android users might not pay $7 for the game, or piracy could be a deterrent. But, the development cost compared to the ROI for a game like Bejeweled HD (which is free with in-app purchases) can't be that burdensome. 

Of course, it probably doesn't help that developers don't even try to sell apps as much on Android. In addition to the top iPad apps that weren't available on Android, there were 6 apps that were on the top paid iPad list but were listed for free with ad-support in the Google Play Store. Ad-supported apps routinely bring in less revenue than paid apps, and given that Android users have proven recently that they will pay for apps, it seems silly to continue this trend. 


Yes, there are apps for iPad that don't exist for Android, but to be fair, there are also apps for Android that don't exist for iPad. And, at least on the Android side, the reasoning is because iOS simply doesn't do what Android can. Going the other way, it just points to lazy developers who either don't believe it's possible to make money on Android, can't be bothered to understand the platform, or maybe even still believe that no one uses Android tablets (which of course isn't true, since Android tablets have overtaken the iPad). 

There are plenty of developer issues that need to be sorted out in the Android ecosystem, especially when it comes to 10-inch tablets, but anyone trying to use this study as some sort of proof that the Google Play ecosystem is far behind is just silly. We all could use more perspective than that. 

reference: DigiTimes & AllThingsD



2. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

I see a lot of Android apps in general that I attribute to lazy developers. There are apps I have seen that seemed like the developer did the bare minimum to make it run on Android. The simplest test is to tap on the back button and see if it actually works or works like it is supposed to. You can even just look at the app and can tell it looks almost exactly like the iOS app.

3. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

I have downloaded plenty of apps that were specifically optimized for my Nexus 7-1, and they work fine. Good article, offers valid explanation, and the headline did grab my attention.

4. bigstrudel

Posts: 621; Member since: Aug 20, 2012

10 inch Android tablets have an incredibly weak app selection compared to the iPad and are behind on both quantity and quantity. Luckily 7 inch tablets at least get stretched phone apps which don't look quite as awful as on a 10 inch.

5. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

I switched from a Nexus 7 to a Nexus 10 a couple months ago, and I've found the app selection to be great. There are a few games that exist on iPad that don't on Android, but in general, I haven't found many problems at all. My only issue is that Facebook sucks and there is no alternative, unlike Twitter, which sucks, but at least I can use Plume which is a far better app anyway.

17. E34V8

Posts: 110; Member since: Dec 16, 2011

Facebook app does not suck only for tabs, it sucks in general. I can't understand why a company with such major resources dose not wish to optimise one app. Anyway, with the new Nexus 7 and the future Nexus 10 inch tab, devs should pay more attention to Android tab apps. If they choose not to, they will lose a lot of money, I think.

18. etuoyo

Posts: 11; Member since: Jan 13, 2012

What of the new app Klyph which looks like Google plus? I am not a big Facebook user but tried Klyph out and it didn't seem too bad.

7. Tsepz_GP

Posts: 1177; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Indeed, it's such a shame as some of the 10inch tabs have decent hardware, but not much content to take advantage of it, it's a sad state of affairs in Android Tablet land.

6. Tsepz_GP

Posts: 1177; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

I agree with the study, as someone who owns both a Galaxy Tab10.1 and iPad4. The sheer amount of content optimized for the Retina display of my iPad trounces much of the rubbish found for Android tablets. I'm sorry, I I'm a huge Android fan but after over a year with an Android 10inch tab I was not at all impressed, the devs pay a lot of attention to Android smartphones but not to Android tablets. This isn't just about popular apps but also localized content, there is TONS of it in iTunes for us South Africans, and ALL beautifully optimized for the Retina display on my iPad4, from multiple newspapers, catalogues to banking and other apps. One of my most used apps, the Bloomberg app is far better on iPad, not to mention Bloomberg TV+ app which doesn't even exist in Play Store.

8. gazmatic

Posts: 822; Member since: Sep 06, 2012

basically the study was correct but you dont agree with it because it makes apple look batter than android when it comes to ten inch tablets wow cognitive dissonance

15. anirudhshirsat97

Posts: 408; Member since: May 24, 2011

Read the god damn article before commenting

9. 1113douglas

Posts: 200; Member since: Jul 04, 2013

people think android is nothing and its not as good as ios, people also think its to much work and their to lazy to try switching to a new operating system. The truth is that android is much more advanced and more customization when compared to the basic ios operating system. Android deserves to have better than ios, but people are not willing to make the switch, mostly due to laziness, and its the people that must buy the products. Thats why people THINK that apple tablets are better than android tablets. But you can say whatever u want or assume whatever u want, but android will over power ios in the future, we are seeing it already. If u want whats the truth, their u have it.

21. iampayne

Posts: 322; Member since: Aug 12, 2013

Try writing an app and then talk about someone being lazy. Its not an over night job for apps that are advance. And making an app has nothing to do with how customizable the OS is. The main reason people make iOS apps better is because the tools Apple uses and Xcode works very well, most of the time. Apple has mastered making things intuitive, even building apps.

22. b9876

Posts: 2; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

It is about not understanding what they are doing. In Android, you need to understand some concepts, that are difficult to visualize (breaking down the app to activities, intents, etc). There is not a fast track switching from barista to Android development, you need to have some experience developing. It is not about the tools. It is what you are capable of doing with the tools. And I have already my opinion of the capabilities of a typical iOS developer, that I will not describe there. Let's just say, that the result of their android effort is very similar to MS Word 6 for MacOS in nineties. For exactly the same reason.

10. Googler

Posts: 813; Member since: Jun 10, 2013

Switfkey, 'nuff said.

12. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

When I use an Android phone, finding popular applications that are on iOS wasn't that much of a problem (usually). It gets pretty bad though, when you start looking for apps that are made from smaller developers. That's where the problem lies. You're correct to say that some of the apps that aren't found in the Play Store may have some sort of alternative. That's very true, but the problem is that they aren't always the same in quality. If I had the ability to use any of the alternative apps from either the Play or App Store on my preferred operating system, I'd choose the iOS alternatives more often than not. As for the type of applications that are on the Google Play Store and not on the App Store, its important to consider whether or not the iOS consumers even care. If a consumer really valued those customization/rooting applications, chances are they probably would have be using Android to begin with. For me personally, I tend to ignore apps like SwiftKey, Titanium Backup Pro Key root, Nova Launcher, Beautiful Widgets, etc because even when I use an Android phone as my primary device, those are apps that I would never even consider purchasing. On the other hand, Fifa 13 is an app that Android users have literally been begging for. Additionally, the lack of Google Play apps in the App Store is not a developer problem. Like I've said in the past, if Apple ever decides to include widgets/launchers in the OS, that would be extremely bad news for Android because developers would flock into the app store and probably make much better iOS versions.

13. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

there really is something wrong about phonearena where do these people come from?????

14. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

In every store that sells 10" Android tablets, the tablets are always displayed in landscape. The logo is right-side-up when held in landscape. Yet, there are so many tablet apps that do not support landscape. I use a Transformer and have the keyboard docked all the time. The tablet docks in landscape. Many of these apps that have no landscape support are pretty much useless to me.

16. chemhaz

Posts: 161; Member since: May 04, 2012

I'm sure there are a number of google apps in the top iPad apps list, and if Goodle decided to make them Android exclusve the numbers will swing in Androids favour.

19. MorePhonesThanNeeded

Posts: 645; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

There are times like these in which companies blantantly disregard actual growth of a platform and do not support it fully, only to show up way down the road and complain that they aren't getting the numbers they thought they would. It's called being complacent and responding to what is actually happening. Lost money can always be recouped but it will just take a lot longer later on than it would have if you responded earlier.

20. MorePhonesThanNeeded

Posts: 645; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

There are times like these in which companies blantantly disregard actual growth of a platform and do not support it fully, only to show up way down the road and complain that they aren't getting the numbers they thought they would. It's called being complacent and responding to what is actually happening. Lost money can always be recouped but it will just take a lot longer later on than it would have if you responded earlier.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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