John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Android’s iPad App Gap

android_apple_shoveAndroid tablet shipments may now outpace those of the iPad, but Apple’s tablet continues to hold its own on another metric: Quality apps.

According to a new study by Canalys, many of the iPad’s most popular apps are either not available on Android or not optimized for Android tablets. Of the Top 100 iPad titles — 50 free, 50 paid — 30 are currently unavailable for Android tablets (the list is embedded below). Now, to be fair, 11 of the 30 popular apps found to be missing from Android are Apple-designed ones that weren’t intended for the rival platform, and will almost certainly never be ported to it (GarageBand, iPhoto, etc.). But that leaves 19 others missing — among them, Clash of Clans, GoodReader, Notability, Eden World Builder and Bejeweled HD.

And of the popular iPad apps that are available for Android, more than a few suffer from bad porting jobs. Canalys found that 18 percent of the Top 100 paid and free iPad apps available for Android have not been optimized for tablet use.

Not entirely surprising. Apple has spent years building a strong mobile app ecosystem, and has paid out billions of dollars to developers who have aided it in that effort. And Apple’s tablet still commands massive consumer mindshare. It’s understandable, then, that it commands a lot of developer mindshare, as well.

“… Building high-quality app experiences for Android tablets has not been among many developers’ top priorities to date,” said Canalys analyst Tim Shepherd. “That there are over 375,000 apps in the Apple App Store that are designed with iPad users in mind, versus just a fraction of this — in the low tens of thousands — available through Google Play, underscores this point.”

But with Android tablets improving (see the new Nexus 7) and gaining in popularity, that may change, and the OS will see apps in the same variety and quality as those available for the iPad. It’s going to take some doing, though.

Google did not respond to a request for comment on Canalys’ report.


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— Gitesh Pandya of comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”