The Android Market used to be a disaster for paid apps, at least compared to the heavy preponderance of paid apps on Apple’s App Store.
But Android is catching up as its marketplace matured in the past six months. That’s important for Google, maker of the Android operating system, because it means that its developers will be more successful selling apps. And having successful developers is critical for Google as it competes with Apple.
Paid apps are now 34 percent of all apps on the Android Market, compared to just 22 percent in August, according to the App Genome Project, a detailed study of more than 500,000 apps by mobile security startup Lookout Mobile Security.
During the same period, the proportion of paid apps in the Apple App Store went down from 70 percent to 66 percent. On Android, 99 cent apps have gone from 60 percent of the Android paid apps to 37 percent.
Many of the free apps can be monetized with ads. The AdMob software development kit is integrated into the most free apps on both the Android Market and the Apple App Store, accounting for 40 percent or more of all free apps in both stores. However, Apple’s in-house ad solution, iAds, saw its market share triple from August until now. During 2011, Lookout expects iAds to surpass AdMob among the free apps in the Apple App Store.
Kevin Mahaffey, co-founder and chief technology officer of Lookout in San Francisco, said in an interview that Android Market prices have shifted upward. More than 95 percent of the paid apps in the Android Market cost less than $10. But the number of apps priced more than 410 has significantly increased in the past six months.
About 73 percent of Android apps are priced at $2.99. In the Apple App Store, prices have pretty much remained steady.