It’s been said that imitation is the best form of flattery, and in the case of the iPhone, iPad and App Store, Apple should be feeling very flattered indeed. Companies such as Samsung have even gone so far as to make it the central element of their mobile products strategy, with apparent pride in being a “fast-follower”.
In the last 12 months, the Android OS has emerged as the clear challenger to the iOS phenomenon. With a vast array of hardware choices and a superb web browsing experience, Android is considered by many to have actually moved ahead of Apple in some respects. However Google have so far been unable to match the end user – or developer – experience that iTunes offers.
But Android is now finally catching-up, and it’s doing it quickly. First came the ability to search for apps in the Android Market via PC and now, app ranking systems have been introduced to help you more easily find the best and most popular apps out there. In addition to ‘Top paid’ and ‘Top free’, the Android Market now ranks ‘Top grossing’ apps – and we’re naturally delighted to see that we’re responsible for two of the top 5: CoPilot Live UK + Ireland and CoPilot Live Europe.
We’ve known for a while that CoPilot Live’s been doing well on Android – it’s certainly popular in terms of downloads given it’s comparatively high price over free apps – so it’s great to see some ‘evidence’ in terms of ranking. For us, it’s a clear demonstration that for day to day driving purposes, there is still no substitute to a full-featured, robust sat nav app with maps stored on the device rather than ‘over the air’ alternatives.
The new improvements all add-up to a better app experience for Android device owners, which can only be good news for them. However it’s not such great news for the various alternative sources of Android apps – Amazon for example.
Perhaps the biggest question is what exactly Apple will announce as the next generation of iTunes in early June at their World Wide Developer Conference. We can’t help but feel that Android will remain a follower for in the near future at least, although clearly the gap is narrowing.