For the first year ever, the Google Play store for Android has surpassed Apple’s iOS App Store in the number of new apps available, launching more than 1.4 million apps compared to Apple’s 1.2 million in 2014.

In a new report from appFigures, a reporting platform for mobile developers, the company looked at three different app stores – the iOS App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon Appstore – to gauge how the growth of their app marketplaces, as well as the number of developers they’re attracting.

Aside from the boost in the number of its apps, Google also netted another victory. 2014 marked the third year in a row that Google attracted more developers than Apple, with almost 400,000 developers building apps for its platform. By contrast, Apple netted about 275,000, while Amazon trailed behind with just under 50,000.

appFigures graph showing number of apps by appstore
(Image: appFigures).

Amazon shouldn’t be entirely counted out, though – its app store saw more than 90 per cent growth. While it only contains around 293,000 apps, it is steadily gaining some traction among developers, even if it’s currently dwarfed by the number of apps Google and Apple have on offer.

However, what was worth noting was that even though Google had more developers building for Android in 2014, the focus of most of those apps was pretty different from what was happening on iOS. According to appFigure’s research, most of the apps on Android focused on gaming and photography, with music, business and entertainment being smaller categories.

In contrast, most of the new apps for iOS were overwhelmingly concentrated on business, with more consumer apps centred around food and drink, lifestyle, social networking, and catalogues.

While the numbers don’t necessarily mean Google is beating Apple in terms of what developers want, it does mean they’re recognizing the Google Play store is an increasingly enticing place to reach app users. This is true even if developers have to contend with operating system (OS) fragmentation, as well as the difficulty of designing apps for several different kinds of devices.

Still, with Apple’s iOS App Store reaching a sort of plateau, it’s natural developers are starting to look elsewhere – especially as they start developing apps for emerging markets, where Android is often the OS of choice.

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