Android apps could rake in more cash than iOS this year — but there’s a catch

nexus 5 smartphone
bloomua/123RF
This year is slated to be a pivotal one for app sales, according to a report from App Annie. The analytics firm projects Android app revenue to overtake that of iOS for the first time ever by the end of 2017 — but there’s a catch.

Apple’s App Store should pull in $40 billion, by App Annie’s estimation. This would make for an increase of $6 billion over last year’s numbers. Google Play, on its own, is expected to deliver a little more than half that in 2017 — $21 billion. So where’s the other $20 billion coming from?

If you combine Google Play’s revenue with that of other Android app stores, like Amazon’s, Samsung’s, and SlideMe, app spend on the platform could overtake iOS by roughly $1 billion, the report claims. While Google on its own may narrow the gap to Apple over the next five years — App Annie says by 2021, Google could be earning somewhere around $42 billion a year, compared to Apple’s $60 billion — the company will likely continue to lose significant sales to third-party marketplaces for the foreseeable future.

What makes Apple’s performance especially impressive is that the company managed less than half the app downloads Google achieved last year — 29 billion to 63 billion, respectively — and still raked in double the sales. App Annie attributes this to Apple’s relatively more affluent customers, but Android could somewhat compensate for this with its more dominant market share worldwide and rapidly growing install base in emerging markets like India, Brazil, and Indonesia.

Such markets are expected to play a major role in the growth of the app economy — particularly China, which is beginning to mature. The country far and away leads the rest of the world in terms of downloads, but App Annie sees this trend slowing in the next few years. At the same time, revenue from Chinese users may actually increase. The report predicts China could eventually account for as much as 41 percent of worldwide app spending by 2021.

Mobile

Google’s storage-management app gets face-lift, is now called ‘Files by Google’

Google has revamped its files management app with a new look and name. Now known as Files by Google, the app received the company's all-white material redesign -- offering the same functionality, but with a cleaner look.
Mobile

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, with each suited for a different occasion.
Mobile

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.
Deals

The best Apple Watch deals for November 2018

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.
Computing

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.
Social Media

Twitter boss hints that an edit button for tweets may finally be on its way

Twitter has been talking for years about launching an edit button for tweets, but it still hasn't landed. This week, company boss Jack Dorsey addressed the matter again, describing a quick-edit button as "achievable."
Photography

Get up close and personal with this telephoto lens for your phone

Moment is replacing its aging 60mm telephoto lens with a new 58mm tele lens, redesigned from the ground up for the latest iPhone, Pixel, and Galaxy phones. Mount it onto the phone via a case and get closer with 2x optical zoom.
Mobile

Lyft’s new rewards program promises ride discounts and comfier cars

If you're always hopping in and out of a Lyft car, then you'll be pleased to hear that the ridesharing service is about to launch a rewards program. Perks include discounts on future trips and upgrades to comfier cars.
Mobile

The world’s first smartglasses showrooms open in Brooklyn and Toronto

Canadian startup North is hoping smartglasses will be the next big wearable. After announcing its new Focals smartglasses in October, the company opened product showrooms in Brooklyn and Toronto.
Deals

Here are the best Apple Watch and Fitbit Versa deals for Black Friday

Apple products are the most sought-after products for Black Friday, the leaked preview ads show what discounts retailers will have for the Apple Watch Series 3 and other smartwatches, such as the Fitbit Versa, this holiday season.
Deals

Black Friday 2018: The best deals so far

Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday of the year, and it will be here before you know it. If you can't wait until November 23 to start formulating a shopping plan, we've got you covered.
Mobile

Master your new Nokia 7.1 with our favorite tips and tricks

At $350, the Nokia 7.1 is a nearly perfect budget phone. It has a gorgeous body, good hardware, and a capable camera. Recently purchased the Nokia 7.1? Here are a few of our favorite tips and tricks to get you started with your new phone.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10 could nix the notch in favor of a "punch hole" cutout

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Wearables

Check out 25 of the best Wear OS apps for your smartwatch

Looking for some ways to spruce up that new Android smartwatch of yours? Here are the best Wear OS apps to download and use with any Android smartwatch, including a few specially enhanced for Wear OS 2.0.