In just three years since it first launched, Google’s Android Market recently celebrated its ten billionth download. That’s way more than enough for every person on the planet to have an app. Just as impressively, if current trends prevail – and there’s no reason to think they won’t – the Android Market will continue racking up a billion downloads per month. That’s almost enough for every one of the 1.3 billion citizens of China.
These numbers are huge, but what do they mean? “Nothing,” according to Ewan Spence of Forbes, who criticizes the data released by Google because it doesn’t differentiate discrete mobile app downloads from re-installations, version updates, and discarded trial versions. Spence reduces the slew of press releases concerning the ten billionth download to a cynical marketing ploy designed to pump up the numbers over the coming months. He concludes by comparing the media attention to “smoke and mirrors” and suggesting that consumers should ignore all the fanfare and select their mobile devices based on their own individual needs instead of allowing themselves to be seduced by the hype.
Spence isn’t wrong about that. Nor is he wrong about the lack of meaningful breakdowns in the sales data or about the media blitz Google is using to sell more apps. We can’t agree, however, that the number is as meaningless as Spence seems to suggest. Ten billion is an awfully big number, and if nothing else, it’s indicative of the breakneck speed with which the mobile app culture is taking over not only the marketplace, but also our daily lives. Additionally, the unbelievable growth rate in the app industry is a testament to the innovation and creativity of app developers as Google noted in a blog post last week. To be sure, security concerns about Google’s open source app market model come up from time to time, but the fact of the matter is that no other business model rewards inspiration and industry quite like the Android marketplace … and of course, if you’re thinking about adding your own app to the Google community, drop us a line and we’ll help get you started.