Android users only spend time on top apps; difficult market for developers

tough android market difficult developers lonely ignoredWith the huge influx of developers looking to break into the mobile app market, it’s tough to get new apps noticed. With the recent data on users, however, Android developers are finding it increasingly difficult.

According to data from Nielsen‘s Smartphone Analytics, despite the 250,000+ apps available for Android, users only spent time with the most popular ones. The top 10 apps alone account for 43 per cent of all the time spent on mobile apps. The top 50 apps account for 61 per cent. If you’re a new developer, only 39 per cent of a user’s time will be spent on any of the remaining 249,950 or so apps. Even apps that are listed in the top 100 — not to mention the top 1000 have a greatly diminished chance at being used.

The tendency for Android users to stick to the top apps might not have to do with the users, but the apps themselves. Unlike Apple’s App Store, the Android Market has no approval process required for its apps. While this might be attractive for developers, from the user’s point of view, this could lead to a number of crappy apps.

Another issue for Android is its fragmentation. Because the operating system runs on so many different devices, developers need to test for a lot of different configurations. Even still, users will come across issues on certain devices and require updates.

In comparison, Apple’s App Store has over 425,000 apps and is also a difficult market for developers, but it may be more lucrative. According to data from Ryan Kim, ratings beyond top apps are more consistent and spread out among Apple apps. iOS users seem more apt at exploring apps outside of the highest rated, which means more opportunities for developers to make money. This might be why Apple has paid more than $2.5 billion in revenue to its developers.