After playing catch-up since its launch in 2008, Google’s Android app store has drawn level with the Apple App Store on an official count of 700,000 apps.
Yesterday Google announced it had reached the milestone, which Apple passed last week (which we suppose means, in classic Achilles and the Tortoise style, that Apple has probably got a few more since then).
And this is more than a question of vanity: the range of apps available on a mobile platform is regularly bandied about as a significant consideration for potential buyers. As Google’s Android platform has proliferated and gained in features and popularity, Apple has always been able to point to its superior software ecosystem. No longer.
Numerically, at least. In other respects Apple’s offering almost certainly remains the best around. Apple actually curates its app ecosystem, frequently turning away legally dubious, ethically questionable or non-functioning apps from its tightly controlled store.
Some people feel the company takes this too far, indeed, with a tendency towards censorship that can feel authoritarian at times; and knock-offs admittedly make it on to the App Store all the time. But compared to Google Play, whose wares are subject essentially to a virus check and a pat on the back, the App Store is a paragon of child-friendly, quality-assured loveliness.
The dual announcements, meanwhile, come at an inconvenient time for Microsoft, which has been trying to talk up its ‘high for a launching platform’ number of Windows apps. As Mashable cattily points out, Windows Phone apps currently number just 120,000.