AppBrain Breaks Down the Current State of Android Apps

The team behind AppBrain has put together a very insightful look into the Android Market and the current state of its apps.  There are some truly interesting facts to glean from their research, some of which I’ll quickly outline.

The most popular titles in the Android Market are made up of some pretty familiar names – Amazon MP3, Facebook, and Shazam are loaded on nearly half of all phones, if not not more. Google Maps is estimated to be on roughly 99-percent of the handsets out there while Pandora can be found on roughly one in three devices.

AppBrain estimates that 5,500 applications out of over 70,000 officially recognized titles are installed on 99.9-percent of all phones.  The other 65,000 apps are installed on less than .1% of phones.  In other words, about 8-percent of all apps in the Android Market can be found on just about every phone.  The other 92-percent languish in relative obscurity.

Back in March, Appbrain created a filtering system designed to hide crap apps and fluff.  At the time, they were able to identify 30% of the Android Market as “spam”.  Today they see about half of the market as spam.  What will happen once the App Inventor starts allowing you and I to create drag/drop apps?

Of interesting note was mention of a developer named Co. Ltd. About two weeks ago the developer (or Google) yanked nearly 4,000 titles out of the Android Market.  Picked up by the filtering system in place, AppBrain tells us that many of the apps were cookie cutter designs and auto-generated.  Who do you think was behind the sudden pull?

About author

Scott Webster
Scott Webster 6570 posts

Scott has been running AndroidGuys since 2007 and loves nothing more than reading up on the latest smartphone rumors. His other mobile efforts can be found on Android Update (CNET) where he covers Google's mobile platform.

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  1. michaeltrieu
    July 21, 17:37 Reply

    Yeah, I can believe those stats. _WAY_ too much spam on the Market these days. Google needs to seriously put their expertise in spam classification to work in the Android ecosystem or their claims about the sheer number of apps will mean even less than they do now.

  2. Ryan
    July 21, 14:18 Reply

    I bet its similar on the iphone. The marketplace format simply sucks for app discovery. As an app developer, its a longshot to get any sort of distribution, and that makes the mobile platform a bad investment proposition for the indy developer.

  3. Mike
    July 21, 19:07 Reply

    You really, really misread the appbrain blog post. Even the most popular app they know about – google maps – isn't installed on 99.9% of the phones. The top 5500 apps are the ones that are installed on more than .1% of the phones. Everything else – the vast majority – are installed on less than .1% of phones.

  4. Mark Polino
    July 21, 19:14 Reply

    Those stats don't make sense. 5,500 apps are on 99% of phones? An Android phone won't hold 5,500 apps, at least not before Froyo. I thought I misunderstood but the clarification made it worse. "8-percent of all apps in the Android Market can be found on just about every phone". The source article actually says that the "5,500 most popular apps were each installed on more than 0.1% of the phones" big difference.


  5. Nathan M
    July 21, 21:38 Reply

    Not hard to see why it's hard to find the apps you want. Let's see. 325 characters for description, 2 screen shots only, broad categories, primitive keyword search, no cross linking of apps. For a search company, Google sure hasn't made

    I'd be happy with .1% of the phones, if they pay for my app.

  6. Janne
    July 22, 01:32 Reply

    Mark, it's the description here that completely misunderstands the stats. Ignore this post and go to the source where you get a good explanation of it. "AndroidGuys" can apparently not read simple graphs.

    First, this is usage data _among users of AppBrain_. It's _not_ stats for all Android phone users, but for that subset of users that use AppBrain to manage their apps. Those are likely people that use their phone more, use more applications, and are more interested in the phone itself than the average user. The numbers for the general population is likely to be lower, and the order of apps will change a bit, though the trends are probably similar.

    Google Maps – which is installed by default in most (all?) Android phones anyway – has close to 100% penetration among Appbrain users . FaceBook is on about 85% of Appbrain users. Google Goggles is on almost 65% and so on. I honestly have no clue where the lousy writeup at the top came from.

    It is interesting, but what it shows is basically that Zipf's law (or the "long tail" for the hipster crowd) is valid for phone applications, just as it is for books, music, city sizes and so on. A small number gets the lion's share, while a large number gets to split the rest.

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