Most Android apps are overlooked

There are roughly 250,000 apps available for Android, but how many of them ever gain an attention?

A new report from Nielsen sheds some interesting light on the subject, pointing out that the top 100 apps for Android make up 61% of all app usage on the platform.

This study comes from a new division of Nielsen tasked with looking at the increasingly fascinating and data-intensive mobile environment.

The main focal point here, though, is how it justifies why many developers struggle to find value in the Android platform. Even though there are millions upon millions of faithful Android users now, they’re just not as app crazy as their iPhone counterparts.

And even when they do download apps, it’s only those that make the biggest buzz. Another case in point is to look at the number of user ratings for apps on the Android Market compared to the iTunes App Store.

The most popular Android Market apps get a lot of traction, with more than 10,000 user ratings. That’s even more than the App Store, where the top apps only get about 5,000-6,000 ratings.

Move down the list, though, to the 100th most popular app or so. The Android Market only shows a few hundred ratings, while App Store titles still get thousands of hits.

So what’s the issue here? Is it that Android just doesn’t make it easy to browse through the available apps? Is it that people who buy Android phones just aren’t the same kind of people who buy an iPhone – that they’re just not inclined to seek out a whole bunch of apps?

For the former, Google has done its part to make the Android Market a bit more user-friendly. It used to be woefully clunky and almost a pain if you wanted to find an app that wasn’t featured as a highlighted or top-downloaded item.

But it looks like there’s still more work to do. Until developers can see that users will actually seek out and download apps that aren’t shoveled into a “top 100” list, it may be difficult to convince them into embracing the platform.