Are Google’s Apps Finally Beating Apple?

The strength of its app ecosystem is often considered an important guide to a platform’s expected success in the mobile world. If that statement holds true, a new report from ABI Research shows that while Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android will strengthen its hold on the global smartphone operating system market, Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS will continue to lead big in the tablet world.

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According to the firm’s latest forecasts, 58 percent of the projected 56 billion smartphone app downloads this year will be on Android, while iOS will come in at just 33 percent. Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone will finish the year with a little under 4 percent, with BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) trailing it at 3 percent.

ABI Research said that with Android’s large, and growing, installed base and the improved conditions for app building, the Google software is becoming the first choice of a growing number of smartphone-focused developers. However, the most “pressing issue for Google is how much of this handset momentum ultimately trickles down to tablets, where Apple is holding the fort remarkably well,” the firm’s analyst Aapo Markkanen wrote…

“We would argue that in this context Google will actually benefit from the efforts by Amazon, since the presence of Kindle Fire adds a lot of critical ‘code mass’ to Android’s proposition as a platform for tablet applications,” Markkanen added. “It is worth remembering that Android’s so-called fragmentation problem isn’t only a problem, but that it has a certain upside as well.”

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Of the around 14 billion tablet apps expected to be downloaded in 2013, 75 percent will be for the iPad, with Android accounting for just 17 percent. The Android figures exclude the Kindle Fire, with the Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) tablet potentially seeing around 4 percent market share on its own. Windows tablets are likely to account for just 2 percent.

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