Android app downloads to surpass iPhone

It looks like Android is about to surge ahead of yet another first-in-class title previously held by the iPhone.

That is, if research firm Ovum’s forecast is correct. The group projects that in 2011, Android app downloads will be greater than the number of downloads for iPhone users.

If it happens, it will be the first time Android has been able to carry that designation. Ovum’s specific estimate shows Android app downloads surging 144% in 2011 compared to 2010.

That would mean more than 8 billion apps will have been downloaded from January 1 to December 31 of this year. For those keeping track, that’s more than 250 every second. Ovum forecasts iPhone and iPad app downloads to reach 6 billion, which is also a remarkable growth from 2010 but just not as wild as Android.

“Consumers’ seemingly insatiable demand for mobile applications is set to continue this year, with downloads from app stores increasing around the world. The outlook for the longer term is also positive, with consumers set to continue to use apps to add new features to their phones and to access their favorite services on the go,” said Ovum analyst Nick Dillon in a statement.

Apple fans will no doubt make the argument that Android is going to quantity over quality, and despite the fact that a lot of apps are being downloaded, many Android users are confused about which apps will work with their phone. One statistic that will obviously never be known is how many Android apps will be downloaded that ultimately don’t even run on the phone to which they’re downloaded.

Nevertheless, Google is obviously having quite a run right now. The question is how it will be able to manage the huge ecosystem before it crumbles under its own weight.