The growth of Google’s Android OS has been phenomenally exceptional. Users as well as mobile manufactures have adopted it from both the hands and its slowly killing all competition from its arch rival Apple’s iOS with no sign of stagnancy. Apparently, such enormous growth has reached to a saturation level when it comes to Android App developers’ exposure level.
According to a latest study from research2guidance, a Berlin-based market research company specializing in the mobile industry, Android app developers are slowly opting out of Android Market place and heading towards third-party independent stores. The “inflation” of alternative distribution platform has just begun and many of Android developers want to make best use of it by submitting their apps to such stores.
Today, there are more than 30 alternative Android distribution platforms, with more and more opening and building up their catalogues with increasing speed. As a result, half of apps that are listed in Android Marketplace are also listed at multiple independent app stores. This trend is going to surge as developers are hitting the wall were they have no room for further expansion and losing their identity and hard work in app crowd.
Android is an open source platform and therefore its easy for developers to join the community compare to other platform like iOS or WP7. For any such app store that has more than 200,000+ apps, focusing on a bunch of app is a daunting task. However, a store that has just 5,000 apps listed maintenance, exposure and target opportunity is much open comparatively. Developers also get more exposure and attention towards their app from such small but efficient stores.
The trend of more independent Android app stores with increasing number of apps will continue for some time. One indicator of the growing importance of independent stores is that investment companies have started to invest into these companies. Most prominent examples are Getjar and PocketGear raising over $10 million last year and Appia again (formerly PocketGear) collecting $10 million this year.
As one of the consequences of the high level of competition download numbers of paid apps in the Android Market are very low, and do not support any reasonable paid app-based business case for the vast majority of app publishers.
The number of Android apps the independent stores offer varies a lot, although none of the stores have reached comparable app numbers to the original Google store. The biggest independent store, Handster, has 23,204 apps to date (10.7% of Android market), which were submitted by the developers, followed by PocketGear, Amazon App Store and SlideMe. The smallest independent stores have no more than 100 apps.