Rest assured that 2010 is going to be a big year for the Android operating system, with many new handsets finding their way to stores around the world (including Google’s own phone) and an increasing number of developers building tools, games and the likes for the fast-growing platform.
One way of noticing that the OS is poised for a big breakthrough at the expense of Windows Mobile, Symbian and other operating systems designed to run on various mobile devices, is the number of applications already available for download in the platform’s own application store, Android Market.
While Google doesn’t disclose publicly how many apps are available for installation, AndroLib has been chronicling the publication of all free and paid apps since Android was introduced, so it’s the closest thing to getting a confirmed number at this point.
Lo and behold, that number hit the 20,000 milestone just moments ago, a little over 5 months since it reached 10,000 apps. And as you can tell from the pie graph below, close to 38% of these apps are paid, while 62% of the apps cost as much as the license fee handset manufacturers need to fork over to Google for use of the Android OS.
This may pale in comparison to the number of applications available for the iPhone / iPod Touch (100,000), but the real battle for mobile OS dominion isn’t fought between Google and Apple, who are increasingly distancing themselves from more established players in terms of mobile Web usage and together are creating a whole new mobile advertising micro-economy.
Evidently, the number of applications available for download are only part of the story, but the numbers AndroLib has collected most certainly indicates that the Android Market is maturing fast. Just look at the growth curve in the first graph and the increasing amount of new applications that are published in Android Market every month in the second.
My guess Android Market will be serving 50,000 apps as early as Q2 2010.