It was just nine days ago that Apple's App Store surpassed 300,000 applications. It's quite the achievement, but following closely behind the popular application store, Android has an enormous achievement of their own. Yesterday it was announced by the AndroidDev Twitter account that the Android Market had reached the milestone of 100,000 applications. This shows that Android is closing the gap between itself and Apple's iOS. Fast. Even though Android sits at a mere one to every three iPhone apps, the rate at which they are catching up is increasing. On March 17, 2009 the App Store had a recorded 25,000 applications while the Android Market sat at a whopping 2,300. By November 2009, the App store had rose to an incredible 100,000 apps and Android to 20,000 that December. That's a rise from a mere 9.2% to 20% to the current 33.3% of the size of the App Store, and it's only growing.
Enough with numbers. What does this mean for you as an Android user? What it doesn't mean is that you will see a change to higher quality apps overnight, or that you will ever see that general change at all. The Market has overall lower standards for applications. To have your application in the App Store, it has to go through a rigorous approval process. The follies of open source are something we as users have to cope with, and I'm all for it. What you will likely see though, is a move from developers from a single platform to both, or even more (WP7). We've already seen this in CNN's Election Center app that launched across three platforms (iOS, Android, and BlackBerry OS) simultaneously two weeks ago.
With more profitability on the Android platform, we're likely to see a jump from other big players in the mobile world. A big name in mobile games moving, like Rovio, is exactly what needed to happen to tamp down the path to Android. They are the one of the few to make headway to the Market's front door, soon to be followed by many. Their hit iPhone game, Angry Birds, is one of the most addicting games I have ever played, and I know I'm not alone in saying that. The full version is now offered for free in Android Market. There were already some development teams that already had my vote, like Glu, Camel Games, and Lab Pixies, but you won't see me turning down more high-quality games and apps on my trusty Droid X.
My whole point is that I've heard quite a few of my friends wanting to jump from Android to the iPhone solely for the applications available on iOS. Patience is virtue, and I believe that before too long, whether you go with iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone 7, your application support will be very similar if not the same. That's been one of the biggest differentiators between the two popular OSes, but the ravine between them is getting filled, and rather quickly at that.