There had been rumors that Google’s store for its Android devices – Google Play, was closing in on 15 billion downloads. In fact, a UK newspaper called the Independent published a report about the same feat about a couple of days back.
The folks at TechCrunch went on to contact Google to ask for confirmation about where the total download figure stood, and, according to a spokesperson from the Mountain View company, Google Play surpassed the 15 billion download milestone a few weeks ago, without anyone even knowing.
Google’s choice to downplay the Play Store’s achievement is in sharp contrast to Apple’s policy of celebrating each download milestone with a high profile celebration and contests.
For instance, Apple’s App Store reached the 25 billion download milestone this March, and offered iTunes gift cards worth $10,000 to the 25 billionth downloader. It had already reached 15 billion by July last year; but then again, it has been around for a little while longer than Google Play (or Android Market, as it was earlier known).
By TechCrunch’s calculations, Apple’s app store is said to get 1.25 billion downloads a month, but Android isn’t all that far behind, with just about a billion downloads a month itself.
Moreover, the widely held notion that Google Play has far, far less apps than the App Store seems to ring hollow as well now. There are 600,000 apps in the latter now, as opposed to 500,000 in the former.
If Google manages to convince developers that Android’s rate of growth will only keep increasing as more and more manufacturers release phones with the Google OS in them, the disparity between the Apple and Google stores are bound to reduce further.
Then again, Google can’t really rest on its laurels too much. There is a reason why the likes of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, the Motorola XOOM, the Sony Tablet S, among several other Android tablets have failed miserably. The reason is that Google still chooses not to differentiate between normal Android apps and tablet optimized apps.
Google needs to take a cue from Samsung’s Smart App Challenge 2012, for instance. Samsung realizes that not enough devs are working on making optimized apps for its Galaxy Note (which allows you to use a Wacom digitizer stylus called the S Pen) and Galaxy Tab(s). Hence, it has set aside a whopping $4million to encourage developers to put in their best efforts to create app content for its devices.
If a single manufacturer like Samsung can take up a development push for Android as actively as it is, there isn’t any reason for Google not to give its very own homebrewn OS a good old fashioned fillip either. If Google wants to have any chance at filling the gaping hole in its portfolio that is its tablet market share, it needs to pull up its own socks with regard to the development efforts for Android.