Though it took years for Android's smartphone apps to catch up with iTunes, manufacturers were ready for the iPad, and Android tablets have caught up to Apple's hardware in no time. Google itself is even pushing a mini-tablet. It turns out, though, that app developers aren't quite as excited for Android tablets as consumers are.
Analyst firm Canalys this week released research showing that a full 30% of the top 50 iPad apps are not also on Google Play. Another 18% were available in Google Play but not optimized for tablet interfaces.
"Quite simply, building high-quality app experiences for Android tablets has not been among many developers’ top priorities to date," said Tim Shepherd, a senior analyst at Canalys. "That there are over 375,000 apps in the Apple App Store that are designed with iPad users in mind, versus just a fraction of this - in the low tens of thousands - available through Google Play, underscores this point."
As large as this discrepancy is, Android is expected to catch up eventually. Canalys predicts that rising numbers of Android tablets in the hands of consumers and improvements to Google Play will force developers to release Android tablet versions of their apps. However, the firm also predicts that Android owners will have to become more willing to spend money on apps before developers can gamble their resources on better, paid versions of their apps.
‘To take the Play ecosystem to the next level, Google needs more than just a large addressable base of devices.," said Shepherd. "App developers need to see clear potential to build robust and sustainable business models around apps built for the platform, so increasing monetization potential must be a priority. And for tablet apps in particular, Google should go further with changes to the Play store to ensure more rigorously managed, high-quality, optimized experiences are highlighted, to the benefit of consumers, and to reward those developers who invest the time and resources in building them with improved discoverability."