According to ABI Research (http://www.abiresearch.com) iPad users are estimated to have cumulatively downloaded three billion applications since the launch of the iPad in 2010. This was 19% of all cumulative downloads by Apple users.
The iPhone took as long as two years before being able to achieve this level of downloads, while the iPad made it within nearly a year and a half. In comparison, Android tablets only have around 440 million downloads so far, according to the research grouop.
“Discounting all those apps that were originally developed for Android smartphones, Android still trails greatly behind the iPad in terms of its tablet app offerings,” says ABI Research associate Lim Shiyang. “Many Android tablets in the market are still using older versions of Android, which disadvantages users from enjoying the better effects of apps produced from more advanced software development kits.”
Besides offering a larger quantity of iPad-specific apps, Apple’s iPad apps are generally considered to be of a better quality compared to Android tablet-specific apps. As of the third quarter of 2011, there were 120,000 apps published specifically for the iPad.
“In terms of hardware, the iPad device still offers much more compared to the current crop of tablets in the market,” says Dan Shey, practice director, mobile services, ABI Research. “Android is currently being used on many low end tablets that do not offer experiences anywhere near the iPad and this dampens the download momentum for users.”
However, things are expected to change as manufacturers adopt the recently-released Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, as well as accelerate product development to close up the specifications gap between their tablets, such as the Amazon Kindle Fire and the iPad, he adds. Annual Android app downloads for smartphones are expected to hit 58 billion by 2016, compared to 27 billion for Apple’s iPhone.