Google Android Off to a Good Start

Dennis Faas's picture

It looks as if the download service for Google's new Android smartphone operating system has had a successful launch. While figures are too hazy to make a firm comparison, first-day figures appear to have beaten the launch day of the Apple iPhone Apps store.

While the Android system launched with around 10% the number of applications available as the iPhone, a media research firm says nine applications had between 10,000 and 50,000 downloads in the first day. That's compared with just two applications doing in the same range on the iPhone Apps launch.

Before you conclude that this marks a mammoth victory for the Android system, there are a couple of notes of caution.

First, you have to remember that the much smaller number of applications available means there's a good chance the Android range is more limited to genuinely useful products, compared with the Apple range where independent developers would have been more likely to throw any old idea out in the hope of reaching the massive iPhone customer base.

Second, the researchers who produced the figures (Medialets) say Google's publicly available data is so limited that the total number of downloads for the day could be anywhere between 206,000 and 770,000. And this comparison is about as good as its going to get because Apple stopped giving out download figures just 15 hours after its Apps store opened. (Source:

The firm was able to draw some other noteworthy conclusions however. Besides iPhone users being slightly more interested in games, the popularity of different types of application is pretty even across the two systems, with shopping, music and weather the most popular subjects.

Rather than rely on the raw number of downloads, Medialets also looked at ratings and reviews from users to find the most popular Android applications. Top of the list was ShopSavvy, an ingenious program which uses the phone's camera to scan a barcode in a store, then checks the product's prices across a range of online sites.

A Weather Channel application came second, followed by Shazam which uses a phone's microphone to 'listen' to music being played near the user and figure out what song it is. (Source:

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