Free apps make up 60% of Android Market, paid apps the cheapest on Palm

EA, Gameloft and Handmark named as top publishers

Free apps make up 60% of Android Market, paid apps the cheapest on Palm
Android Market continues to offer the best value for consumers according to the latest report from Distimo, with the firm's figures claiming it has the highest percentage of free apps and some of the cheapest paid apps available on any mobile marketplace.

The firm's numbers for July suggest 60 percent of Android Market is made up of free apps – that's an increase of 3 percent when compared to May's figures.

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It also puts the marketplace completely out of step with its rivals.

Palm's App Catalog is the closest competitor with 31 percent of its app line-up available without charge, Apple's App Store for iPhone coming in at 26 percent.

"The large share of free apps in Android Market may well be influenced by the fact that developers from only 9 countries are currently able to distribute paid applications in the marketplace," Distimo concludes in the report, "and by the fact that users from only 14 countries are able to download paid apps."

Even when it comes to paid apps, Android Market is still one of the cheapest places around, with the average price in the US in July coming in at $3.23.

That puts it in line with rivals Palm App Catalog on $2.43, and Nokia's Ovi Store on $2.68.

Pay to play

Consumers clearly aren't put off the more expensive apps on such marketplaces, however, with Distimo's numbers putting the average price of the 100 most popular apps on both Android and Palm higher than the average price of the entire catalogue of apps.

The reverse is true with most of the marketplaces, the average price of the top 100 paid apps on iPhone $2.15, compared to the $4.31 average for the entire line-up.

However, more than 60 percent of apps on the App Store for iPhone are priced $2.00 or less, the same true for Android Market, Ovi Store and Palm App Catalog.

As in previous reports, both Windows Marketplace ($5.72) and BlackBerry App World ($6.68) have comparatively high average app prices – BlackBerry still restricted by a minimum price point of $2.99 at this point – with the App Store for iPad the third most expensive marketplace with an average price point of $5.01.

Publisher power

The other notable trend in Distimo's July report is the increasing prevalence of the bigger publishers.

Though mobile marketplaces are traditionally the stomping ground of independent studios, the firm's numbers suggest Gameloft, EA and Handmark are now the top three cross-store publishers in the mobile market.

On the three most expensive marketplaces, first party apps appear to be enjoying a sizable amount of success, with Distimo reporting Apple (on iPad), RIM and Microsoft are the top publishers in their own stores with only a limited number of applications.

EA is the top grossing publisher on iPhone, with Clickgamer (Chillingo's 99c label) top dog when it comes to sheer number of apps available.

You can download the report for free from Distimo's website.

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.


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