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iOS app revenues still four times higher than Android, but Play store growing fast

A new report from mobile app analytics firm App Annie shows that, while revenues for iOS apps are still four times higher than those of Android apps, the gap is beginning to close, thanks to spiking sales in the Google Play store.

The report is the first of a monthly series that the company will make publicly available via its blog.

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According to the report, Google Play's revenue jumped by nearly 18% during the month of October, while the App Store saw a decrease of 0.7%. Apps on iOS, however, still bring in about four times the amount of money that Android apps do. In terms of free downloads, the gap is just 12% in favor of iOS.

The picture is changing on a country-by-country basis, as well, App Annie reported. For the first time, the U.S. was not the biggest nation in terms of Google Play revenue, as the top spot went to Japan. The latter country has seen Android app revenues shoot up by a factor of 10 this year, claiming 29% to the U.S.'s 26% in the latest figures. America still far exceeds any other single country in terms of iOS revenue, however, at 33% to second-place Japan's 14%.

The Asian market is quickly becoming a bigger contributor to the growth of mobile apps in general, and Android apps in particular, according to the report. The top three publishers by revenue on the Google Play store in October are all based in Japan, and just two of the top 10 companies on the list were not from either Japan or South Korea. Four Japanese companies made the revenue top 10 for iOS as well.

Part of what's driving this growth, App Annie says, is the popularity of mobile gaming. Nine of the 10 biggest-selling publishers on both iOS and Android were game companies. However, different types of games were popular on each platform -- Western-built strategy and casino games dominated on iOS, while Asian-made brain games and other casual titles were more popular on Android.

Beyond the gaming sector, the most noteworthy discovery made by App Annie may be that productivity apps are selling briskly on both iOS and Android -- a further indication that BYOD and enterprise mobility issues will only grow in importance in the near future.

The full report can be found here.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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