Top Smartphone Apps Reveal Shocking Differences in User Base
My average work day involves copious amounts of coffee and lots of time on the internet doing “research”. This includes keeping up to date with the fast-paced world of apps, and even testing them out in the name of consumer reporting. Recently, as I was browsing the top selling iPhone applications, it struck me how different they were from the top selling Android applications. What could this mean? Does this lend itself to an intriguing sociological observation about the nature of Smartphone users? Maybe not, but it’s fun to talk about anyway.
iPhones Users and the Games They Play
First, a basic observation: every single one of the top five best-selling iPhone apps is a game. Every. Single. One. In fact, every single one of the top ten best-selling iPhone apps is a game. You have to get to number fourteen, which improves on the camera’s performance, before finding a non-game. Within the list of top ten Android apps, on the other hand, are only two games – Fruit Ninja and Robo Defense. Now, one could use this information to draw the conclusion that iPhone users are generally silly, with lots of time on their hands and a disinterest in using their powerful, cutting-edge, technologically advanced devices for anything other than throwing virtual birds at virtual pigs.

But perhaps that would be an unfair conclusion to draw, after all most of the top-selling Android apps are aimed at customization – adding widgets, weather, multiple styles of keyboards, improved handling of multi-tasking. All things that Steve Jobs realizes iPhone users don’t need, or want, or aren’t clever enough to use, since his design team has managed to create the perfect device.

Top 10 iPhone Apps:
1. Angry Birds
A physics based game in which dastardly pigs have stolen the bird’s eggs, making them Angry. So the pigs wall themselves into various fortresses and the player must strategically fling the birds into the walls to destroy the pigs.
2. Angry Birds Rio
See above. Only with more sun.
3. Tiny Wings
You are a bird who wants to fly but has very tiny wings, so you have to use hills and gravity to cleverly move from point to point.
4. Ninja Fruit
Fruit flies across the screen and the player slices it up with finger swipes.
5. Where's Waldo?
If you ever read the books, you know the deal. A hidden object game where you have to – you guessed it – find Waldo and his red and white striped sweater.
6. Tetris
Block fall, you have a limited amount of space and time in which to make them
all fit with each other.
7. Words with Friends
Interactive Scrabble that you can play with other iPhone/iPod Touch users.
8. The Sims 3
Create a simulated person and control them and their world.
9. Cut the Rope
You have to cut ropes to get candy to Om Nom, who is apparently a very hungry monster that arrived on your back porch.
10. Plant vs Zombies
The ultimate tower defense game, where you use plants and their special powers to fend off the zombies.
Android Users and their Root Access
The other interesting thing to note is the number of Android apps that are for root users only. There are four apps in the top ten – ROM Manager Premium, Root Explorer, Titanium Backup Pro and SetCPU – that require root access, and more if you carry on into the top 20 and 30. Jailbroken apps wouldn’t appear in the list at the iTunes Store, you have to go to the Cydia store for those. There is clearly a market however, for apps that will utilize the access to system files.

This marks two significant differences – customization and root access – between iPhone and Android fans. This isn’t really anything new of course, it’s fairly common knowledge that Android users are a bit more geeky, but it is another interesting way of proving what we always suspected.

Top 10 Android Apps:
1. Beautiful Widgets
Contains a collection of weather, clock, date and toggle widgets with many skin options.
2. ROM Manager Premium
A ROM manager for root users who want to backup, restore and flash ROMs.
3. Root Explorer
A file manager for less techy root users – includes a text editor, rar archives, SQLite database viewer, and script execution.
4. Fruit Ninja
Fruit flies across the screen and the player slices it up with finger swipes.
5. Better Keyboard
Offers several different keyboard options (i.e. layouts, gesture control, skinning, languages, etc.) if you don’t like the stock one that your phone arrived with.v
6. Robo Defense
Tower defense game.
7. SetCPU
Allows root users to change the CPU settings. You can set specific profiles that will change the CPU settings under certain conditions – when the phone is sleeping or charging, at certain times of day, etc.
8. WeatherBug Elite
More than you ever wanted to know about the weather - forecasts, radar animation, Doppler images, and polygon vector layers (I guess those are good).
9. Titanium Backup Pro
A good tool for root users who tinker and therefore want to be able to back-up, restore and freeze all their apps, market links, and move information around on the SD card.
10. Power AMP Full Version
A redesigned music player that gives significantly more control than most of the stock players and plays many more file formats.
Price Point
The last difference I noted, were prices. All the top ten iPhone apps are $.99. Oh wait, excuse me, Words with Friends and Plants vs Zombies are both $2.99; those must be some awesome zombies (that’s my jealousy talking, Plants vs Zombies has only just come out for Android). The Android apps on the other hand, range from $1.99 to $5.91, with most of them coming in at $2.99 or higher. Now we could look at this as an example of how much better iPhone apps are, since they are priced more reasonably. Or we could look at this as an issue of quality, with Android apps being more robust and interesting, and therefore worth more. As a demonstrably unbiased journalist I feel both arguments are valid.

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What blows my mind is that people have time (and $$) to waste on these nonsensical toys! The only features needed, and that I use, are the PHONE and the camera. Any other uses just atrophy the brain, with the possible exception of GPS, which I have no use for. No small wonder why the "schools" are failing to educate the children.


So much for being objective...

You obviously have the mental stature of a gnat...

Hand Held GPS Review

Top Smartphone Apps Reveal Shocking Differences in User Base is the best, I think except from music and video, games is the most common apps can see in an iPhone. I love the ultimate tower defense game also known as plant vS zombies.lols iPhone is improving as time past by.


One possibility is that Android users are generally more of a techie type (kinda how they advertize them) and tend to be unmarried and with no or fewer children. iPhone users may be more family types and a lot of the apps are purchased/loaded for their kids.

Android looks like work

Lol. The read into this is that android users to spend their time (and money!) trying to make their phones jump thru hoops, whereas iPhone users have more time to just enjoy using their device.

My iPhone has been jail broken for a few months, and the only real advantage and I still use regularly is the advanced SMS apps. And I stopped visiting the Cydia store ages ago.But am thinking I'll probably not jailbreak again.

So, it seems to me from that list, that androids are inferior devices that their probably frustrated users are always trying to make better.

Wouldn't be surprised if Steve pulls up a slide on this on Monday with the same conclusion. If you want a phone that you can enjoy using, get an iPhone.

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Typical Apple Fanboi response.

Why is is apple fanbois always feel the need to justify their purchase? And to justify their purchase, they need to slag-off the opposition. I've had this for years, with mac people slagging off the Wintel platform. They just can't be happy with their computing choice, they have to prove that theirs is a superior choice. They have an arrogance that makes them desperate to try and prove that everybody else is wrong. It is an inferiority complex of the highest order.

To counter the comment, I would claim that Android owners are intelligent technical people who strive to get the most from their smartphone, while iPhone users are simple magpie people who just like shiny things, and wouldn't even comprehend what "root access" means, let alone achieves, and games is all they are capable of.

You know that inferiority complex? It's not unfounded, Apple is only 1 step up from V-Tech, they are phones and computers for simple folk who need everything to be simple and toy like.

I went to the iPhone about a

I went to the iPhone about a month ago after one, or maybe several of the apps wreaked havoc with the phone and it had to be wiped to get it working (oh yeah, another reason your numbers are probably skewed.

typical apple fanboi response

I love things when they are designed to be simple to the user and so enable productivity. Thats what computers of all shapes and sizes should be, ie tools we can use.

The app price difference

The app price difference suggests iphone developers have a very optimistic culture - selling a million at 99cents is a fine outcome for what may have started as a hobby project. And once the 99cent expectation is created, it is tough to compete at an exhorbitant 2 dollars!
Coincidentally [?] it was also the magic "99" when Borland Turbo Pascal at $99 created a mass market for serious programming languages, which had traditionally cost maybe $1500.
And why snipe childishly at other users? It is our diversity that makes a culture agile and resilient, especially the Open/volunteer stuff like Linux, Mozilla and Wikipedia.
PS: OK, we snipe because it is fun and easier than being helpful. Sample:
I mean, anyone who actually wants to live in a world totally designed and dominated by noted philanthropist Bill [and Melinda] Gates, or by the cute folks at Apple, should donate their brain to science. Preferably today. [They won't miss it.] They are either the first metroSapiens or the last Neanderthal.

iPhone and Android Apps

we are all Individuals, that is what drives the Future - if you don't have the Money, you buy other then a iPhone,but on the other Hand even if U have enough ,you do not buy a BMW, U go for something else and that does not mean you are silly - if so, we would be all Numbers


iPhone Apps

I think your missing key pieces of information. I purchased a brand new Samsung Epic a little over a year ago. I was very excited and immediately started purchasing apps. What I didn't understand at first was my Samsung didn't have the Froyo 3.3 firmware update which was up to Samsung to provide (for a year I waited for a brand new phone to have voice dialing support). I bought app after app that didn't work with the phone. Something as stupid as a flashlight app wouldn't work because of mismatches between software written for different android phones and different manufacturers and different firmware revisions. Your numbers are skewed because users like me downloaded app after app that did not work.
I went to the iPhone about a month ago after one, or maybe several of the apps wreaked havoc with the phone and it had to be wiped to get it working (oh yeah, another reason your numbers are probably skewed, re-downloading apps after untested apps screw everything up). Now every app I download works, not always my favorite app, but no more phone wipes because Sprint said I brought it on myself by downloading the wrong app in the land mine of an app store the androids are hooked up to. Apple makes it all, thank god, no more finger pointing between the carrier, the phone manufacturer and the app store. I tried android but as with all things Apple, after a while you just want something that works all the time.

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I think you missed a major difference between the two platforms. With Android you have a wider percentage of free (ad driven) apps. In fact, most of the games you mentioned all have free versions... why would anyone buy an app if there is a free version? OK, some OCDs can't live with the ads (but that's what AdFree, AdBlocker, etc are for).

The Android platform allows virtually infinite customization and tweaking that the iphone does not. It makes sense that the dev community is very active in the Market, supporting each other through app purchases for all their hard work - unpaid that is. FYI, virtually all of the top 10 Android apps have free versions off-Market on the respective forums. These apps were purchased to support their developer.

Meh, the argument is moot. The iPhone is a great device hamstrung by Steve Jobs God complex. Android is fragmented, true, but the platform is so flexible it is almost an unfair comparison. You can walk into Papa Johns and order a pizza, their way, or you can get a pizza oven and chef (for "free") and have anything you want.


"The last difference I noted, were prices." What kind of sentence is that? One that gets you flunked in basic Comp. Oy. And this is a "professionally" written blog?

iPhone or iOS apps?

Sarah, are these "iPhone" apps or all iOS apps? I'lL assume you really mean all iOS apps as I don't believe any lists that are freely published segment them by device. Given that assumption, a comparison as such is completely pointless. iPod touches are dominantly used by a younger demographic so games of course would be dominant. you would need to overlay a demo / psycho profile to get a meaningful comparison.

Also, don't you think that you should provide attribution for the source of the top 10 lists you used? I'm certain Retrevo wouldn't like it if other sites listed it's review rankings without any attribution. That's not cool.

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Better Keyboard

Sarah: When I installed better keyboard on my device, i was alerted that better keyboard might keep my info, such as credit card numbers, passwords, ss#'s. etc. With all the ID theft out there, I was really wondering if it is ok to use?

I think that your conclusions are innocent and premature.

I think that your conclusions are innocent and premature. In order to come with a conclusion you need not only to collect the data, but know how to read it and detect a bias if present. For example, you are comparing top selling apps the #1 of Iphone is Angry Birds, which happens to be free on Android market! I think is silly of you to believe that just comparing a gross data you could assume the difference between Iphone users and Android users...
I am an Android user by the way... I just think it is ridiculous how people keeps trying to cross a line between both comparing the users... In my opinion it is as ridiculous if someone try try compare the difference between the users of Samsung, Panasonic and Sony TV's!!!



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you downlaod/buy app you dont have on the native smartphone. COunting on this, iphone is missing games and android tools for making the smartphone working.

top ten is maybe not enough

What's your issue, Sarah?

Your comment that "iPhone users are generally silly, with lots of time on their hands and a disinterest in using their powerful, cutting-edge, technologically advanced devices for anything other than throwing virtual birds at virtual pigs" really bothered me. Why is it that you have the need to imply that all iPhone users are brainless? It would have shown a lot more intelligence on your part to give a top-ten list of the most poplular apps for each type of phone and let the readers form their own conclusions. Presenting the information in the manner you did could be equated to a school yard bully picking on a child who doesn't "fit in" well. It would be nice if someone who is supposed to be intelligent (i.e. capable of using an Android phone and hosting a blog) would be capable of expressing themselves in a more constructive way. And, yes, I am an iPhone user...but I don't have any of the Top 10 apps you list on my phone. I have over 80 other apps though. Many are work related and allow me to access my company's information system whenever I need to. Lots are news or reading apps. I also have several weather apps, music apps and several internet browsers. What category do I fit into? A "wanna-be" Android user?


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Hit a nerve there, did we?

Hit a nerve there, did we?

Missed the point...

Looks like someone missed the point in that specific sentence. Here is the first part.

Now, one could use this information to draw the conclusion that iPhone users are generally silly, with lots of time on their hands and a disinterest in using their powerful, cutting-edge, technologically advanced devices for anything other than throwing virtual birds at virtual pigs.

Sarah was only stating that if anyone were to look at JUST the top 10 apps for either OS, people MIGHT draw the conclusion that iPhone users like to play games instead of use more powerful apps like in the comparison versus Android.

I would also like to point out that Sarah's blog post states in the first paragraph "Recently, as I was browsing the top selling iPhone applications, it struck me how different they were from the top selling Android applications"

So there are NO FREE APPS in this comparison and it is also based on POPULARITY.

How many apps have you paid for that are popular?

blackberry left out again.

once again bb apps not even mentioned. :( I would be lost completely without my B&N ereader.

Android users can't count?

Android Apps 4 and 5 look suspiciously similar!


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Iphone Users

iphone users Vote for Obama and let their kids run the household.


@ Anonymous

I don't think you can make this case. I have seen no statistical evidence that iPhone users are significantly smarter than Android users.

@ Anonymous

I don't think you can make this case. I have seen no statistical evidence that iPhone users are significantly smarter than Android users.

iPhone Users

Actually, iPhone users would not vote for Obama... most wrote in Steven Jobs for President... and they don't let their kids run the house... they (we) PLAY at the house together! Maybe if you learned who uses iPhones you could make better comments. Oh wait, that is probably what your Android phone taught you while at the polls voting for Obama while the kids were home cooking and cleaning the house. My bad, forgot that Android and PC users liked to point the blame away from the real problems.