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The Rise And Rise of The Android Market

The Android Marketplace has shrugged off a shaky start and shaped up to be a real competitor to the Apple App Store

Given that apps are arguably the key differentiators between smartphones and regular phones, their availability and quality can make or break a smartphone platform.

Since 2007 Apple’s App Store has been the envy of the industry, attracting swathes of developers and allowing users to broaden the functionality of their phones tremendously. But that crown is about to passed on to Android. According to research firm Distimo, the Android Market already boasts more free apps than the App Store (134,342 at last count) and by the end of July, Distimo forecasts that the Android Market will have surpassed the App Store in terms of paid apps too.

Google’s strategy of taking a very low-key approach to app regulation (allowing developers to upload apps to the Market without them being pre- approved) seems to be paying off. But whether Android users enjoy better-quality apps than iPhone users is another question.