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Android apps hit 700,000 mark says Google, same as iOS

Google has boasted that its Play store is home to 700,000 apps -- the same figure that Apple touted earlier this month.

It looks like Google's app store may be squaring up to Apple's own -- at least in terms of pure volume. Google says it has about 700,000 apps in its Google Play store, the same number that Apple touted earlier this month.

Google now sports 'about 700,000' apps that are available to download onto smart phones and tablets, Bloomberg reports, while Apple boss Tim Cook claimed that Apple's iOS had that number just one week ago, at the launch of the iPad mini.

Of course, these are raw numbers, so it's hard to calculate exactly who's winning in terms of apps, and a single number doesn't give much indication of the quality of available applications. Apple forces apps through an approval process before sticking them on its App Store, whereas those Google apps could have come from anywhere.

In terms of getting new apps first, I'd cautiously hazard that Apple is still ahead -- for now. The fact that there are only a few different types of iOS devices is appealing to would-be developers, and large corporations and magazines appear to be better at releasing and updating apps for Apple gadgets.

Recently I spoke to the BBC about why the iPlayer Android app lags behind the Apple equivalent in terms of features. Fragmentation -- the issue that there are Android devices of all shapes and sizes out there -- was one of the primary reasons it gave.

Whether or not you think that's a reasonable excuse, it still feels as if many developers prioritise iOS. These numbers suggest that may be starting to change, however.

Finally, it's worth noting that we don't know how many of Google's 700,000 apps are tablet-specific. A lack of desirable Android tablets up until recently has left Google lagging when it comes to slate-designed apps, especially compared to Apple, which recently crooned that it has 275,000 apps specifically built to run on the iPad.

Apple's keen to keep developers sweet, also revealing that to date it's paid out $6.5bn to app-makers, presumably hoping they'll stay on side.

Android celebrated a total of 25 billion app downloads in late September. Apple claimed last week it had hit the 35 billion download mark.

To sum up, that 700,000 figure doesn't tell the whole story, but it's certainly a sign that Google is on the march when it comes to apps. Which operating system do you think is winning in terms of applications? Tell me in the comments or on our Facebook wall.