updated 11:45 am EST, Mon December 12, 2011
Nielsen says Android led by narrow app range
Android app use is dominated by just a handful of regular apps, Nielsen found on Monday. Regardless of age group, the six most-used apps always include Google's separately upgradeable apps as well as Facebook. Among other apps, the higher-ranked titles included Angry Birds as well as Advanced Task Killer Free, an app meant to cover the inability to truly quit apps not really addressed until Android 4.0.
A relatively narrow selection of apps dictate the rest, most of which are basic apps that are available on iOS or other platforms. Pandora Radio, Quickoffice, Words With Friends, and The Weather Channel are some mainstays. The only other Android-specific is the Amazon Appstore, helped primarily by Amazon's daily app giveaways.
iOS has its own regular apps outside of its own titles, but these tend not to revolve as much around basic functionality. Apple's larger 500,000-plus app library, as well as a tendency towards more variety and paid apps, lets it reduce the likelihood that the same apps will show in the top ranks every time.
Until a major revision of Android Market earlier in the year, Google also had a problem with criteria for popular apps that led to very little rotation. The strategy led to a self-perpetuating cycle where popular apps only became more popular as they stayed in the chart for weeks or months where they would have normally phased out.