Android users favoring apps over games

Applications are leading games in downloads from Google's Android Market.

Google's Android Market has business and social apps available for Android phones

Google's Android Market has business and social apps available for Android phones

Owners of the Android-powered G1 handset seem more anxious to get things done with it than to play games, according to download statistics from the long-awaited phone's first few days on sale.

The device -- the first to use the Google-backed operating system -- went on sale from T-Mobile USA on Wednesday morning after a preview sale at one store on Tuesday night. The Android Market, an online store for applications and games, launched at the same time. More Android phones are yet to come, and the open-source operating system and associated applications have been anticipated as possibly the next phenomenon to shake up the mobile industry following Apple's iPhone and App Store.

By late Friday, games were taking a back seat to applications in the Android Market, based on broad ranges of download numbers displayed on the store. It showed that 20 applications had been downloaded between 10,000 and 50,000 times, compared with just five games in that class.

On Thursday, mobile research firm Medialets reported there were six applications and three games with that many downloads. Analyzing a variety of data, Medialets said downloads from the Android Market had followed a similar pattern to the App Store on its first day.

On Friday, several of the same applications were still high in the Android Market rankings. The Weather Channel, price-comparison tool ShopSavvy, the WikiMobile Encyclopedia and MySpace Mobile remained top-ranked applications. ShopSavvy had the most user ratings, at 765.

The three games that on Wednesday had already been downloaded 10,000 to 50,000 times -- Pac-Man, Brain Genius Deluxe and Bonsai Blast, were joined by just two others. But Pac-Man seems to have earned the most ratings of any download by Friday, with 1,147.

The Android Market's rankings are based on a combination of user ratings and number of downloads. Games and applications appear on separate lists.

In both the iPhone and Android stores, 24 hours after launch, games made up the biggest category of type of application, followed by multimedia and "lifestyle" applications (including health and fitness, sports, shopping and photography).

The launch of the App Store was significantly different from that of the Android Market. At launch, Apple's store had 552 applications, about one-quarter of them free, and iPhones had been on sale for about a year. Within three days, it had 800 applications. The Android Market opened with just 62 products, all of which are free. Software providers won't be able to charge for products until the first quarter of next year. Starting on Monday, the store will be open to any applications developers want to offer, instead of just ones that have been chosen by Google.

Apple's App Store has now been operating for more than three months, and games are among its most prominent offerings. There are about 5,500 applications available on the App Store, which has had more than 200 million downloads.

-- Additional reporting by Nancy Gohring in Seattle.

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Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
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