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Android will surpass Apple in app downloads by October, report finds

Apple has seen its share of smartphone sales overtaken by Android devices in recent months, and now, according to a report from a British newspaper, it could be in the process of losing the lead in app downloads as well.

Citing published download numbers from both the App Store and Google Play, The Telegraph reports that Android is gaining on Apple by about 500 million app installs each month, though both ecosystems have grown with enormous rapidity in recent months.

[ MORE ANDROID:Google is a disgraceful flirt about new Android versions]

A little more than 732,000 apps are currently available in the Google Play store, according to statistics from AppBrain, while Apple says it boasts more than 850,000. The 50 billionth iOS app was downloaded from the App Store last month, that company said.

Android isn't far behind, however, having reached the 48 billion mark recently, as it announced at last month's I/O conference. If the Play store's rate of closure on its older competitor holds, the two ecosystems should be of roughly equal size in just four months.

While that's a clear feather in Google's hat, The Telegraph also warns that the raw download figures can be misleading, quoting an analyst as saying that iOS users still consume more apps per capita, and that it's impossible to know with certainty whether one is more profitable than the other.

Google clearly knows the stakes for the app market, however -- it announced a host of new development tools and APIs at this year's I/O, pushing hard to keep its ecosystem of third-party developers working around the clock.

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

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