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Android to leapfrog iOS in app downloads in 2012

Android's increasing popularity will see it overtake Apple in terms of app downloads for the first time in 2012.

Do you have an insatiable app-etite? You're not alone. We're collectively downloading literally billions of apps every month on our smart phones and tablets -- and in terms of monthly downloads, Android is growing faster than any other OS.

While Apple's iOS has long been miles ahead of its rivals in the app download stakes, figures released by new number crunchers on the block Xyologic predict Google's mobile OS Android is going to take the lead in June 2012, The App Side reports. For Android developers it's news tastier than an ice cream sandwich.

Xyologic reckons the App Store currently achieves around 1.45 billion downloads a month, in comparison to 640 million for Google's Android Market, though Android's increasing popularity on smart phones and tablets is set to change that in just nine months.

"Apple continues to grow at exponential rates, but Android is growing at hyper-exponential rates," Xyologic co-founder Matthaus Krzykowski said.

It's expected that there will be a correlation between downloads and the number of available apps -- the latter being an area where Android has yet to catch up. As of June, there were approximately 206,000 available apps available in the Android Market, compared to over 425,000 iOS apps in the App store.

But it's not just weight of numbers that will determine which platform developers favour -- iPhone users tend to splash the cash on premium apps more than their Android-adopting counterparts. Research firm Ovum predicts iOS app revenue is expected to reach $2.86bn in 2016, compared with $1.5bn for Android, CNET News reports. This is despite Android snagging nearly twice as many downloads by that point, with 21.8 billion Android app downloads versus 11.6 billion iOS downloads.

The App Store could be bolstered with the release of the iPhone 4S and its mighty dual-core gaming prowess. App Store analytics provider Distimo reckons 72 per cent of App Store downloads in June were games, while the total revenue generated by top grossing games has increased by 79 per cent year-on-year.