Google Inc’s Android application store has twice the proportion of free software as smartphone rivals Apple Inc and Research In Motion Ltd, according to market researcher Distimo.
Free applications comprised 60 percent of software on Android Market in July, Distimo said. That compares with 29 percent for the Apple App Store for the iPhone and 26 percent for RIM’s BlackBerry App World, the Utrecht, Netherlands-based researcher said on its Web site on Thursday.
Attracting more app developers may help Google catch up with the App Store, which contains more than 250,000 programs, three times the 70,000 for Android, the company’s figures showed.
Annual revenue from smartphone app downloads, ads and services is estimated to almost triple to US$40.7 billion in 2014 from this year, according to researcher Booz & Co.
Android Market is available in 46 countries. The store may be struggling to attract users for paid programs because only people in 14 nations can download these apps, which are distributed by developers in nine countries. Android buyers also have to sign up for a Google Checkout account in order to download paid apps, it said.
Separately, microblogging service Twitter launched an app for the Apple iPad on Thursday to rave reviews from technology blogs.
The free official “Twitter for iPad” program allows Twitter users to send and receive the 140-character-or-less messages known as “tweets” as well as open links to Web content.
Twitter has a Web site, but most users opt to use third-party applications to access the service rather than the somewhat non-user friendly Twitter.com.
The Twitter application for the touchscreen iPad, which is available from Apple’s App Store, allows users to tap a message with their finger and see any related content in a separate window pane.
“Depending on the content in that Tweet, you’ll see a video or photo, or maybe a news story, or perhaps another tweet,” Twitter said in a blog post. “Twitter for iPad takes advantage of the iPad’s fluid touch interface, letting you move lots of information around smoothly and quickly — without needing to open and close windows or click buttons.”
Dan Frommer of Silicon Alley Insider described the Twitter iPad application as “really slick.”
MG Siegler of TechCrunch said: “It has now been a few days since I first played with Twitter for iPad, and I still think it is hands-down the best iPad app out there.”
“It’s that good,” Siegler said, adding that the application provides “a great experience for reading tweets — and more importantly, reading the links your friends share.”