There was a bit of a collective cyber-jaw-dropping over the release of AdMob's Mobile Metrics Report Thursday. With the revelation that Apple's app economy is estimated -- and that should be "estimated" with a capital "E" -- to be worth something in the neighborhood of $2.4 billion annually, there were the requisite comparisons to the GDPs of small African countries and general headshaking and hysterical laughter. Putting aside the applause for Apple, what the report reveals about the rise of Android seems to be a bit more intriguing.
To review -- some of the report's highlights:
• The most-cited ways of discovering apps are browsing the Android Market/App Store Rankings and searching for a specific type of app. Over 90% of users who cite these activities do them on their mobile device instead of their computer.
• Android, iPhone and iPod touch users are all highly engaged with apps. Android and iPhone users download 9-10 new apps per month, while iPod touch users download 18. Over half of Android and iPhone users spend more than 30 minutes per day using apps.
• iPhone and iPod touch users are more likely to regularly purchase paid apps than Android users. 19% of Android users download at least 1 paid app per month, compared to 50% of iPhone users and 40% of iPod touch users. However, of those users who regularly purchase paid apps, downloading behavior is similar across platforms. For users who regularly download paid apps, the number of paid apps downloaded and the average amount spent each month was similar across platforms.
This last point seems to be the most revealing. With regular app downloaders on Android spending approximately $8.63 a month and iPhone and iPod Touch users spending approximately $9.49 and $9.79, respectively, but less than half the number of Android users actually paying, this is less a case of apples to oranges than it is apples to apples, or androids to androids, as the case may be.
And as one Android user commented: "I won't get a paid app when a free app is just as good or better. I have a few paid apps. Ussally its after using a lite app. I am NOT going to waste my money on a junk app. I will only buy apps that is recommend by a friend who I had a chance to try before. hand." [sic all around on this comment]. Android users: not great spellers (maybe it's that unruly keyboard), but they are possessed with a certain common sense.
It's likely that the report didn't garner much more than a collective shrug around the Googleplex. With the number of devices running Android rapidly growing --including the HTC MyTouch and Hero and a mystery announcement from Motorola coming on September 10 -- time is on Google's side.
In the meantime, the guys in Mountain View will be quite happy to sit back and watch the kids in Cupertino and all those iPhone and iPod Touch users searching away and using Google maps.