AAPL Stock: 118.03 ( -0.85 )

Printed from

Nielsen: Facebook, task killers dominate Android apps

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.

by MacNN Staff



  1. DerekMorr

    Joined: Dec 1969


    i'm calling shenanigans

    The site continues to be the Fox News of Apple reporting. The anti-Android/Google bias is just ridiculous.

    The headline is pure link-bait. "Task killers" do not "dominate" Android apps -- they aren't even in the top 5. They aren't helpful (as many sites have explained); and if you do want to kill an app, you can force quit it from the Settings -> Applications, which has been available since version 1.x.

    Further, I'm skeptical of Nielson's claims. They don't at all resemble Google's app download data - Granted, Google's chart is for downloads, and Nielson's was for usage, but it seems strange that Games overwhelm app downloads but barely show up on Nielson's data (aside from Angry Birds).

    Overall, this is just another electronista anti-Android hit piece that tries to paint the platform as some bleak landscape devoid of quality apps. Why do Apple "news" sites keep running this garbage? I don't see these sort of hit pieces on Blackberry, WinPho, or Android news sites?

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    To the shenanigans caller

    The article clearly shows charts; nothing here is made-up in order make Android look bad. It just is as it is.

    According to the chart above, task killer is no. 2, 3 and 4, respectively, in the three age groups (Of course, if we disregard Google's default, pre-installed apps, such as Maps, Gmail, Market, Facebook, Youtube and such).

    As an Android user, I can completely agree with the charts above (I fall a bit beyond the age group on the right). Android is an excellent choice for those who can't afford $650 for an iPhone and are willing to go max. $200 (and a cheap no-contract plan). It provides most of the core functionality of the iOS, without the polish, consistency, intuitiveness and reliability that $650 gets you. If you can afford to spend $70 on a smartphone plan (plus $200 upfront for the phone), there is no justification to go for the Android if the same money buys you the iPhone. No Advanced Task Killers needed on that one.

  1. DerekMorr

    Joined: Dec 1969


    the data doesn't pass the smell test

    Your comment regarding the task killer is nonsensical. You're just arbitrarily ignoring apps to claim that the task killer is # 2, 3, or 4.

    More to the point, this data set seems strange. It's the same set of apps in each age range, they're just reordered. Why isn't Twitter (or any third-party Twitter client) listed? Are Angry Birds and Words with Friends the only games Android user spend any measurable amount of time playing? Does no one use Spotify? Where are the e-book reader apps? This data set doesn't pass the smell test.

    I suspect there's some sort of sampling bias. Nielson should disclose their sampling, data collection, and analysis procedures.

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Just face the facts.

    Re: "...... Advanced Task Killer Free, an app meant to cover the inability to truly quit apps not really addressed until Android 4.0...."

    If you see a task killer, they blew it.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    oh please

    The title is biased. The comments are biased. The article is biased.

    There is ONE task killer on the list. That's it. To somehow claim it 'dominates' is full of c***. Supposedly the information comes from apps on the phone and used within the last 30 days. Wow, 20% of users used a task killer app at least once in a month. Gee, I used the iOS task killer app multiple times just yesterday!

    Seriously, though, Derek makes one huge and valid claim. Are we supposed to believe that all three segments (from geezers in their 40s to late teens) use the exact same apps, just in different percentages? That quickoffice is that popular amongst the younger set (along with Adobe reader)? That all three groups love the weather channel app, yahoo mail, and angry birds?

    Yeah, the information they state might be right, but I'm not believing that chart at all.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Just face the facts.

    If you see a task killer, they blew it.

    And I guess Apple's task killer isn't an app, it's part of the OS, so it doesn't count?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Hey Nielsen

    What does your data show about app usage on the iPhone? I seriously doubt we'd be shocked to find the same type of thing holds true. Large usage numbers revolving around a few apps.

  1. slapppy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Task Killer

    Of course for Android its a "must" application to download. Even on iOS when an app is idle, its truly idle. Not hogging up resources like Android apps...

  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It's obvious that slapppy doesn't have a clue what he's talking about.

    Task killer is a "Must Have" on Android? Yeah whatever.

    He's just trolling to push your buttons.

  1. pottymouth

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I don't buy it either. As much as I hate it, the lack of Twitter surely means that their "proprietary device meters" are flawed.

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears (now owned by Logitech) has found great success in the marketplace with its "Boom" series of Bluetooth speakers, a mod ...

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones

We love music, and we're willing to bet that you do, too. If you're like us, you probably spend a good portion of your time wearing ...

Jamstik+ MIDI Controller

For a long time the MIDI world has been dominated by keyboard-inspired controllers. Times are changing however, and we are slowly star ...


Most Commented