Canalys: Android lacks the 'rigorously managed, high-quality, optimized' apps seen on Apple's iPad

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Market research group Canalys offered a scathing appraisal of the apps currently available for Android tablet users, stating that "building high-quality app experiences for Android tablets has not been among many developers? top priorities to date."

Nexus 7


The report contrasted the library of "over 375,000" iPad-optimized titles in Apple's App Store against "the low tens of thousands available through Google Play," but focused on just the top one hundred most popular iPad apps: 50 free and 50 paid.

Out of the top 100 popular iPad titles, Canalys reported 30 were missing entirely from Google Play. That includes Apple's chart topping Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iMovie, GarageBand and iPhoto, which are all paid titles exclusive to iPad, as well as Apple's free Podcasts, iBooks and iTunes U for iPad.

Optimized ever so slightly

The group counted another 18 apps as only existing as stretched smartphone apps on Android, designed to fill a tablet's display but not taking special advantage of it.

However, Canalys did include apps like Pandora in its optimized list, in contrast with a recent report by Jared Newman for Time, which cited Pandora's app along with popular titles including Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox as being "the worst offenders" at failing to take any advantage of the additional real estate on tablets, and just "stretching out their interfaces instead of filling the screen with sidebars and menus."


Android tablet apps


Tablet optimized? Android vs iPad versions of Pandora. Source: Time


Canalys listed all of those apps as being "optimized" for Android tablets, despite actually not being very much more than a smartphone app with a few tweaks. The company did note that its criteria for counting 52 "optimized" Android apps only specified apps that were "optimized (if only a little) for tablet use."

At the launch of iPad 4 and iPad mini last October, Apple's head of product marketing Phil Schiller drew special attention to the "night and day" difference between tablet-optimized iPad apps and the stretched smartphone apps that work on Android tablets (below).




Tablet optimized: Android vs iPad versions of TripAdvisor


Of its generously counted Android-optimized titles, Canalys said six paid apps for iPad are only available as free, ad-supported version on Android. And that wasn't described as a being a compliment.Android's "ad-supported offerings typically deliver a poorer and often more limited user experience, sometimes taking a considerable toll on device battery life and often subjecting users to unskippable videos or other unpopular intrusions." - Canalys

"While nominally free," Canalys Analyst Daniel Matte wrote, "set against a paid version of the app, ad-supported offerings typically deliver a poorer and often more limited user experience, sometimes taking a considerable toll on device battery life and often subjecting users to unskippable videos or other unpopular intrusions."

Facebook for Android, for example, was recently called out by Symantec for "leaking" Android users' information.

"The first time you launch the Facebook application," the security firm stated, "even before logging in, your phone number will be sent over the Internet to Facebook servers. You do not need to provide your phone number, log in, initiate a specific action, or even need a Facebook account for this to happen."

Perhaps the market is driving backwards

It's no secret that Android tablets lack the variety and depth of software available for Apple's iPad. David Pierce, reviewing Google's Nexus for The Verge, wrote that, "the Android app situation has improved a lot, but it's still squarely in the iPad's rearview mirror. From Paper to Clear to Badland, it's no contest."

It's less clear why Android is still so far behind the iPad in apps. Samsung rushed out millions of Galaxy Tab shipments just eight months after the iPad in 2010, and the world was duly informed by Strategy Analytics that Apple's market share in tablets had immediately dropped by 20 percentage points.

Google followed up a few months later with Android 3.0 Honeycomb, unleashing an "avalanche" of Android tablets before the iPad was even a year old.

And yet, three and a half years later, even as Strategy Analytics reports that Android tablets now ship in volumes over twice as large (and due to its retroactive accounting revisions, that Android has been leading the tablet market since at least the spring of 2012), Android's tablet apps are still "still squarely in the iPad's rearview mirror."

Android tablets in the rear view mirror online, too

While not driving optimized tablet app development, the mysterious White Box/Dark Matter nature of Android tablets are also failing to show up online.

Their invisibility is particularly apparent in web statistics, where Android phones do show up roughly equal to iPhones. Android tablets, however, don't really show up at all, even though iPad's 34.28 percent share (in June) makes a larger impression than the iPhone's 22.48 percent.


document.getElementById("na635108563342626248").src="http://www.netmarketshare.com/report.aspx?qprid=10"+String.fromCharCode(38)+"qptimeframe=M"+String.fromCharCode(38)+"qpsp=173"+String.fromCharCode(38)+"qpch=350"+String.fromCharCode(38)+"qpdt=1"+String.fromCharCode(38)+"qpct=3"+String.fromCharCode(38)+"qpcustomd=1"+String.fromCharCode(38)+"qpcid=fw248210"+String.fromCharCode(38)+"qpf=16"+String.fromCharCode(38)+"qpwidth=600"+String.fromCharCode(38)+"qpdisplay=1111"+String.fromCharCode(38)+"qpmr=10"+String.fromCharCode(38)+"site="+window.location.hostname


Speaking at the Wall Street Journal All Things D conference this spring, Apple's chief executive Tim Cook noted, "Last Black Friday IBM did a special study on ecommerce in the U.S. and they looked at every mobile device and what was bought off of those. [?] the study said that there were twice as many ecommerce transactions on iPad than all Android devices combined. Not Android tablets, all Android tablets plus phones. It?s incredible.?"So if there are lots of other tablets selling, I don't know what they are being used for, because that's a pretty basic function: web browsing." - Tim Cook

Citing Chitika's figures, Cook also noted in the company's most recent conference call, "iPad web share data shows that through the quarter we accelerated further and are now? iPad accounts for 84% of the web traffic from tablet, which is absolutely incredible. So if there are lots of other tablets selling, I don't know what they are being used for, because that's a pretty basic function: web browsing."

Conversely, when Google's head of Android Sundar Pichai introduced the company's new Nexus 7 last month, he had to reference a sales study that is known to be flawed in order to claim that the company's tablet had even temporarily outsold the iPad mini in Japan.

A representative of IDC, certainly not conservative in its estimates of Android sales, stated, "we count the Nexus 7 as part of Asus' shipments, and looking at our Japan numbers for 4Q12 (which represents shipments into the channel) Apple shipped about 773K iPad units versus about 350K Nexus 7 units for Asus."

random access memories
Source: InfoWorld


The best explanation for the dearth of Android tablet apps and the excessive numbers of Android tablet shipments that don't show up anywhere other than market share reports may be the flaws Symantec discovered in Android's random number generator.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 83
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,208member


    Android wont ever see any of my apps thats for sure!

  • Reply 2 of 83
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,907member
    For those interested here's the list of the apps used for the Canalys comparison. Not that it diminishes the overall results but 10% of the iOS apps they used to compare are Apple's own iOS apps which of course wouldn't be available on other platforms anyway.

    http://www.canalys.com/download/tablet_apps.pdf
  • Reply 3 of 83
    macbook promacbook pro Posts: 1,605member
    The headline link is currently providing me with a 404 error.

    I had to click comments to read the story.

    Hopefully someone from Apple Insider will read this comment.
  • Reply 4 of 83
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,907member
    The headline link is currently providing me with a 404 error.

    I had to click comments to read the story.
    Correct, same here
  • Reply 5 of 83
    macbook promacbook pro Posts: 1,605member
    "Out of the top 100 popular iPad titles, Canalys reported 30 were missing entirely from Google Play. That includes Apple's chart topping Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iMovie, GarageBand and iPhoto, which are all paid titles exclusive to iPad, as well as Apple's free Podcasts, iBooks and iTunes U for iPad."

    Android doesn't need apps. Android has "customization."

    The story is a bit biased in that regard though. A fair comparison would be a comparison between the native Google Apps and native Apple Apps. In the instance where Google doesn't offer an app then the comparison should be against the top selling app on Google although I am not sure what is offered on Android that compares to GarageBand though.

    I always appreciate the comments about the iPhone being an App Launcher. Of course the iPhone is an App Launcher, every general purpose computer is an "App Launcher." Does Google Android not have Apps?
  • Reply 6 of 83

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post



    "Out of the top 100 popular iPad titles, Canalys reported 30 were missing entirely from Google Play. That includes Apple's chart topping Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iMovie, GarageBand and iPhoto, which are all paid titles exclusive to iPad, as well as Apple's free Podcasts, iBooks and iTunes U for iPad."



    Android doesn't need apps. Android has "customization."



    The story is a bit biased in that regard though. A fair comparison would be a comparison between the native Google Apps and native Apple Apps. In the instance where Google doesn't offer an app then the comparison should be against the top selling app on Google although I am not sure what is offered on Android that compares to GarageBand though.



    I always appreciate the comments about the iPhone being an App Launcher. Of course the iPhone is an App Launcher, every general purpose computer is an "App Launcher." Does Google Android not have Apps?


     


    I agree with your suggestion for how to make the comparison.  That seems like a more logical way to go about it.


     


    The "app launcher" description for the iPhone is because the main UI, the homescreen, serves no purpose but to display the grid of apps.  Android and Windows Phone homescreens can provide information without entering apps.  I would really like to see Apple implement a version of the live tiles from Windows if they aren't going to add support for widgets.

  • Reply 7 of 83
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member


    The thing I find interesting is that Android tablets don't even really compete on price either.  Of course they are cheaper, but the only "good" ones that are actually usable are the top end ones like the Nexus.  While the general perception is that the Nexus and other Android tablets are around $200 and that the nearest iPad is around $500 (I actually overheard a Nexus user explaining this to his friends in a coffee shop last night), where I live a Nexus is more like $250 and the cheapest iPad mini (it's main competitor) is only $329.  So while the perception is a gap of many hundreds of bucks it's really almost nothing at all. 

  • Reply 8 of 83
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Including Apple apps is a very fair measure of what users are getting: they are great apps, they are popular, and they are not on Android. Excluding Apple's apps from the iOS advantage would be bizarre. Ditto for excluding Google apps.

    When looking at this as a sign of developer interest (not the best way to measure that), excluding first-party apps would make sense. But even still, you'll then see some decent Google apps on iOS. (Google Maps on iOS has even had advantages, [URL=http://www.cultofandroid.com/19954/google-admits-new-maps-app-for-ios-is-better-than-android-version-promises-ipad-app/]by Google's own admission[/URL], over their Android Maps.) And you won't see anything from Apple on Android.

    Either way, iOS looks a lot better!

    P.S. I never get an answer (maybe there is none?) but for Android fans: [B]what are the great, tablet-optimized exclusive apps for Android?[/B]

    Let's look at three categories:

    [B]1. System hacks and utilities.[/B] Android is king here! And some of those can be neat, no doubt. Android users love to bring those up, and they're not wrong.

    [B]2. Games.[/B] Love 'em! iOS has many more, but Android still has a respectable library, especially of mainstream fare. (I couldn't live without the awesome indie titles I play that never make it to Android.)

    But what about...

    [B]3. Real power apps for productivity,[/B] with desktop-level features and great tablet design, such as these iOS exclusives:

    ArtRage, GarageBand, Procreate, Inkpad, Pages, Numbers, iMovie, Keynote, Textastic, iDraw, iTunes U, OmniGraffle, iPhoto, Bento, Omni Outliner, ArtStudio, Adobe Ideas, NanoStudio, Diet Coda, Intaglio, Freeform, TouchUp, iTeleport, ReBirth

    Where are Android-exclusive apps like these for Android? Not, “well, here’s SOME kind of app in this general category,” but a truly top-level (and tablet-optimized) experience with that level of productivity, features, and quality?

    Even if you think I won't agree with your list, that's fair enough... but what IS your answer? Is there any significant number of great Android exclusives in this category?

    It's also OK if you don't think "real apps" (as I've defined above) are an important category. There's a lot to be said for games, system mods, media consumption, social media, and good old web browsing. We can simply disagree on that, because I know so many iPad users who thought that's all they wanted, yet ended up doing much more. But for those who DO think "real apps" are important? What's for them on Android vs. the tsunami of iOS exclusives?
  • Reply 9 of 83
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post



    "Out of the top 100 popular iPad titles, Canalys reported 30 were missing entirely from Google Play. That includes Apple's chart topping Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iMovie, GarageBand and iPhoto, which are all paid titles exclusive to iPad, as well as Apple's free Podcasts, iBooks and iTunes U for iPad."



    Android doesn't need apps. Android has "customization."



    The story is a bit biased in that regard though. A fair comparison would be a comparison between the native Google Apps and native Apple Apps. In the instance where Google doesn't offer an app then the comparison should be against the top selling app on Google although I am not sure what is offered on Android that compares to GarageBand though.



    I always appreciate the comments about the iPhone being an App Launcher. Of course the iPhone is an App Launcher, every general purpose computer is an "App Launcher." Does Google Android not have Apps?


     


    I disagree.  Your suggestion would be fair if the goal is a comparison between apps, and the relative quality of native vs. non-native apps. But Canalys is actually comparing platforms through the metric of app availability and quality.  It's a subtle difference but an important one.  


     


    I get what you are saying that it's seemingly unfair to say that native Apple apps are not available on Android, since they were never intended to be and never will be, but to a buyer evaluating the platform choice, it's still valid to say that these apps (or apps like them) don't even exist on Android.  


     


    Also, if a Garage Band equivalent or a Pages equivalent *did* exist on Android, it would no doubt be in the top 30 just as Apple's apps are and it wouldn't matter if it was a Google app or not either.  So the fact that no one has written apps like these for Android is still a valid point. 

  • Reply 10 of 83
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,907member
    gazoobee wrote: »

    Also, if a Garage Band equivalent or a Pages equivalent *did* exist on Android, it would no doubt be in the top 30 just as Apple's apps are and it wouldn't matter if it was a Google app or not either.  So the fact that no one has written apps like these for Android is still a valid point. 

    The top 100 Android apps weren't shown were they? Not saying here is or isn't an "Android-equivalent" app for either of those. There may be, but as I'm no musician I couldn't personally comment on a music production app anyway. As for Pages I suspect there are very comparable apps available on the Android platform.

    EDIT: This one gets favorably compared to Garage Band. That was in a quick search so I don't know if there's a better match.
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.uloops.android&hl=en
  • Reply 11 of 83
    froodfrood Posts: 771member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wakefinance View Post


     


    I agree with your suggestion for how to make the comparison.  That seems like a more logical way to go about it.


     


    The "app launcher" description for the iPhone is because the main UI, the homescreen, serves no purpose but to display the grid of apps.  Android and Windows Phone homescreens can provide information without entering apps.  I would really like to see Apple implement a version of the live tiles from Windows if they aren't going to add support for widgets.



     


    Really surprised Apple hasn't offered its users widgets yet.  Once you get used to them they do all the work for you.  Apple could make them a little less chaotic then Android widgets and kind of define what users could and couldn't do with them (including the option not to use them).


     


    The tablet argument is kind of a rewind of the phone argument two years ago.  These forums were littered with 'there's no phone Apps for android'   The phones sold, developers followed (with lag).  Now there are substantially more Android phone apps than iPhone Apps.  I think the 'store' numbers claim @800,000 android apps and 800,000 iPhone apps, but counts the 300,000+ tablet only apps in that number.  Android tablets have just started selling, developers will follow, but again with some lag.  In another two years there will likely be more (good) dedicated Android tablet apps than iPad apps.  Apple will still be alive and doing well and provide a more elegant experience than the Android ecosystem.

  • Reply 12 of 83
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Frood View Post


     


    Now there are substantially more Android phone apps than iPhone Apps



     


    Never confuse sheer numbers with quality :) Android users know what I mean :p Throw out the junk of the App Store and the junk on Android, then compare again. Next, compare side-by-side those apps available for both iOS and Android. Not a pretty picture. Fragmentation is real, and its affects on app development are unavoidably massive.


     


    And then on tablets we have the issue that commission-driven carrier salespeople aren't tossing bottom-end awful Android devices at uninformed shoppers. Android loses that major first-time-buyer advantage when it comes to tablets. (Not their only advantage of course: dirt-cheap devices sell on price alone around the world, and Apple won't make anything that poor; but those aren't big app-buying customers either.) People expecting Android to "catch up" and offer people as much as iOS seem to be forever reaching just over the horizon that never comes...

  • Reply 13 of 83
    mhiklmhikl Posts: 471member
    There's a change in the winds on Apple reporting and in Apple stock of late and I firmly believe much of this has to do with the strong efforts of Mr Dilger. His analyses are being quoted on many sites, even the negative sites are taking note, and his work is bringing some great responses here on AI to which even the naysayers are finding difficulty in finding fault.

    New things are on the horizon and with the DED leading the charge, let the games begin.
  • Reply 14 of 83
    Android apps will all self adapt for phone, tablet and Android laptops.

    So why don't Ipad apps do the same?
  • Reply 15 of 83
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by aBeliefSystem View Post



    Android apps will all self adapt for phone, tablet and Android laptops. So why don't Ipad apps do the same?


     


    They do--it's called Universal apps. And iOS 7 has even more tools for developers to use in auto-adapting.


     


    Apple doesn't REQUIRE all apps be Universal, which is a sensible bone to throw developers, especially when a given app's function is really best suited to either pocket or tablet format alone. But they do clearly promote those apps that are, and the result is a success: better tablet apps than what you have on Android.


     


    It's true that if you're stuck running a phone-only app on an iPad, it doesn't adapt nicely--but you're not likely to need to phone-only apps much on iPad.


     


    As for they "all self adapt" on Android that's the common trap of pretending a list of features is the same as delivered reality. Bullet-point marketing. "Non-Apple product does X." With no regard for whether it does it well.


     


    The question to ask is, why do so many apps on Android tablets just act like stretched smartphone apps, far inferior (as seen in the images above) to real tablet-optimized quality apps? Well, Google has a fragmentation problem with screen format (far smaller than the fragmentation problem with OS versions and hardware vendor overlay, but a problem). How to partly solve that for developers? Auto-stretching is certainly sensible. It works--but it works poorly.


     


    iPad users shouldn't be bragging about iPhone-specific 2x apps. And Android users shouldn't be bragging about auto-adapted phone-style apps either!


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mhikl View Post



    There's a change in the winds on Apple reporting and in Apple stock of late and I firmly believe much of this has to do with the strong efforts of Mr Dilger. His analyses are being quoted on many sites, even the negative sites are taking note, and his work is bringing some great responses here on AI to which even the naysayers are finding difficulty in finding fault.



    New things are on the horizon and with the DED leading the charge, let the games begin.


     



    I can defend Apple better than I can defend DED... he does some awesome research and legwork, lays the details out neatly and thoroughly, and makes excellent points. I think him for that contribution. But far too often, he also hurts his own case (and makes us all look bad) by stretching too far, assuming too much, or going for the laugh when the facts are more nuanced. He's not always a fanboy, but the needle swings too far that way, too often, and his credibility would be so much better without those lapses.


     


    A "best of DED" compilation is devastating to the mindless parroting of anti-Apple nonsense. A "worst of" is, sadly, nonsense of its own! (This article isn't really at either extreme.)


     


    That said, much of the obviously false anti-Apple nonsense that gets repeated around the web and even mainstream media is on a whole other level! DED can be proud not to stoop to that level... I just wish he wouldn't stoop at all.

  • Reply 16 of 83
    Who cares? Fandroids just want cheap tablets. Give them a cheap enough product and poor apps don't even matter. Besides, the whole tablet thing is now about which platform has the most market share and Android is winning. When it comes to all mobile products only having major market share is the most important thing that everyone seems concerned about. Whoever sells the most units is considered the best, the most dominant and the one to remain forever in power.
  • Reply 17 of 83

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post



    I always appreciate the comments about the iPhone being an App Launcher. Of course the iPhone is an App Launcher, every general purpose computer is an "App Launcher." Does Google Android not have Apps?


    I think the comments about the iPhone being an "App Launcher" refer to the fact that android allows third-party software to integrate more seamlessly with the overall system.


     


    iOS treats each app as its own (mostly) isolated experience. Because facilities for inter-app communication are rather limited, the iOS user sometimes has to jump through hoops to perform tasks that use services from more than one app -- for example, when attaching a document to a reply email.


     


    Apps on android are comprised of functional units called "activities" which can provide services to each other, even when they come from different apps. For example, when the user wants to attach a document to an email, the gmail app can launch the google drive file picker, which will then return the chosen file to gmail. The user can then continue composing the message. As a result, android feels more like a unified system with various capabilities rather than a springboard for various third-party apps.

  • Reply 18 of 83
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post



    Who cares? Fandroids just want cheap tablets. Give them a cheap enough product and poor apps don't even matter. Besides, the whole tablet thing is now about which platform has the most market share and Android is winning. When it comes to all mobile products only having major market share is the most important thing that everyone seems concerned about. Whoever sells the most units is considered the best, the most dominant and the one to remain forever in power.


     


    Too true!


     


    But of course there are exception to the rule: when Apple, for instance, is selling the most units, then they're still doomed image In that case, what matters is being "open source," or coming with a stylus, or some other thing image The goal posts move unpredictably--yet always away from Apple.


     


    Also, be sure to mention "shipped" in your analysis, not "sold." Actually, no, you're right--use numbers for "shipped," but call them "sold."


     


     



    Quote:

    Originally Posted by d4NjvRzf View Post


    I think the comments about the iPhone being an "App Launcher" refer to the fact that android allows third-party software to integrate more seamlessly with the overall system.


     


    iOS treats each app as its own (mostly) isolated experience. Because facilities for inter-app communication are rather limited, the iOS user sometimes has to jump through hoops to perform tasks that use services from more than one app -- for example, when attaching a document to a reply email.


     


    Apps on android are organized into functional units called "activities" which can provide services to each other, even when they come from different apps. For example, when the user wants to attach a document to an email, the gmail app can launch the google drive file picker, which will then return the chosen file to gmail. The user can then continue composing the message. As a result, android feels more like a unified system with various capabilities rather than a springboard for various third-party apps.



     


    This is true. A legitimate Android advantage for certain users. (And, of course, a disadvantage too. The happy medium hasn't yet been reached. Android's desktop-like complexity has its good points for some people, and Apple's sandboxing plus the growing Share pane has some too, but the ideal would lie somewhere in between, I feel.)

  • Reply 19 of 83

    Originally Posted by aBeliefSystem View Post


    Android apps will all self adapt for phone, tablet and Android laptops. So why don't Ipad apps do the same?


     


    Easy to do when all the apps are just made for the phone and plopped down everywhere else.


     


    Note: iOS apps have done this since the very VERY beginning.

  • Reply 20 of 83
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,996member


    Does any one know why a big software company like Yahoo can not deliver its very good weather app optimized for iPad?  It is only an iPhone 5 optimized app on iPad. 

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