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Android Market Passes 400k App Mark

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The Android Market now has more than 400,000 apps according to the latest figures from Distimo

Google’s Android Market has passed the 400,000 mark for active applications on a global basis, says application store analyst Distimo.

The milestone comes after the Market hit the 300,000-application milestone in August 2011, up from 200,000 titles in April 2011. It also comes one month after Google said its Market exceeded 10 billion application downloads, with more than 200 million Android devices activated all over the world, and 550,000 activated each day.

Developer Push

Distimo said free applications constituted 68 percent of the total application base for the Market. That’s a percentage that Google would no doubt like to reduce, as it would mean more Android developers were selling software through the store instead of giving their products away.

As the industry has seen from Apple’s App Store, that means happier developers. Moreover, Google takes the standard 30 percent cut of application proceeds, so getting developers to offer more paid applications is better for Google’s bottom line.

Speaking of comparisons to Apple, Distimo said the Android Market required two more months to reach the 400,000-application market than Apple’s App Store for the iPhone, which hit the 400,000 mark in June 2011 and is closing on 500,000 applications.

Read Distimo’s blog post and see its chart detailing how long it took both the Android Market and App Store to meet their application plateaus.

Pulled Apps

Of course, Distimo isn’t counting the myriad applications that Google has yanked for violating Market policies, such as copyright or trademark infringement.

Google doesn’t vet application uploads to the Market as Apple does for its App Store, making it easier for developers to sneak illicit software into the store before Google can stop it. Instead, Google cleans house after the fact.

For example, Google recently booted Official App developer’s Siri for Android program, which used Apple’s Siri icon to function as a shortcut for Google’s Voice Actions application. Google also pulled Official App’s Pinterest application, ostensibly a mobile wrapper for Pinterest’s mobile Website.

When asked why Google removed those applications, a Google spokesperson told eWEEK: “We remove apps from Android Market that violate our policies.”

Rule Breaking

Official App’s software broke Google’s Android Market rules for preserving intellectual property, which state: “Don’t infringe on the intellectual property rights of others, including patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright and other proprietary rights.”

At the least, Official App’s software appears to have violated Google’s rules against impersonation or deceptive behaviour in the Market, which are as follows: “Don’t pretend to be someone else, and don’t represent that your app is authorised by or produced by another company or organisation if that is not the case.”

Either way, when Google finds applications in its Market that infringe on copyrights, or prove spammy, it pulls them with little-to-no warning. Critics are sceptical of this whack-a-mole process, though some feel it’s a sight better than Apple’s more Draconian validation for applications, which can be onerous.