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Android?s 850,000 daily activations puts iOS-first strategy into question

Android continues to grow at a quick pace and is now seeing 850,000 new Android devices activated each day, up more than 250 percent from a year ago.

At the same, interest in Android apps is growing significantly, with Google reporting that has more than 450,000 apps today ? compared with 150,000 apps a year ago ? and that over 1 billion app downloads are taking place every month. The numbers point to the need for app developers to make Android a significant part of their go-to-market strategies.

?For those developers primarily focused on iOS, today's numbers reaffirm the importance of developing for Android,? said Craig Palli, vice president of business development at marketing technology firm Fiksu Inc., Boston. ?The fact is there are more Android users and available Android advertising impressions than there are iOS.

?Moreover, as the Android devices are increasing in quality, so is the value of the Android user base,? he said. ?So much so that many Fiksu clients are shifting budget from iOS to Android and in those cases Android is proving to have a lower cost per incremental loyal user.?

Fiksu helps developers acquire loyal app users.

Catching up to iOS
The Android numbers appeared on Google?s Mobile Blog in a post by Andy Rubin, senior vice president of mobile and digital content. In it, Mr. Rubin says that the total number of Android devices around world is now over 300 million.

IOS has traditionally garnered the most app downloads in the market. However, Android is quickly catching up and is expected to reach parity with iOS this year.

App developers often create apps for iOS devices first and then roll out apps for Android and possibly other mobile operating systems. However, the new numbers suggest some developers may want to reconsider this strategy.

The Apple App Store currently has over 550,000 apps.

?Android has caught up to iOS and in many ways achieved parity at a minimum,? Mr. Palli said. ?There are many advantages for developing for Android first, including time to market and user behavior insight.
The company?s research of the mobile app marketplace shows that Android users are two times more likely than iOS users to open an app ten times or more.

Other advantages per Mr. Palli include the ability to launch an app and make improvements to an app instantaneously in the Android Market as opposed to having to wait weeks for iOS launches and refreshes.

Additionally, app developers can gain rich user behavior insights on the Android platform, such as how users discover their apps and determine what search terms are most important for user discovery and optimize their marketing communication strategy accordingly.

?Based on the above it is completely rational for App Developers to develop for Android first and then plow those learnings into iOS later,? Mr. Palli said. ?This is especially true with 850K new daily activations where new users are amongst the most interested in discovering new apps.?

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York