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Android Market Shows Steady Growth

It’s been a week since the Android Market – the primary location for downloading applications for the Google G1 Android mobile handset – opened its doors for business. And while the noise surrounding the opening of a marketplace for Android applications hasn’t met with the same cacophonous reverberations of the handset it hopes to unseat, adoption of Android applications is showing steady growth, according to a recent report released by Medialets.

While the Android app numbers appear positive, it is also important to note that the Medialets report is far from definitive. At best, it provides some useful indicators. Downloads, for example, fall into ranges that make it difficult to assess whether an application has been downloaded 50,000 times or 250,000 times.

As of October 29, 2008, the Market offered 167 applications, the vast majority of which were categorized as tools or games. Of those apps, roughly a quarter garner the lion’s share of the downloads.

So what types of apps are Android users downloading? Turns out the most popular Android apps, so far, are very similar to those that tend to lead the iPhone market: entertainment and reference.

Pac-Man and the Weather Channel lead all apps. Ringdroid – an app that allows users to record and edit sounds – and iPhone-favorite Shazam – an app that can “listen” to a song and help users identify the name and artist – are also among the top downloads. Yes, there’s also a flashlight app.

How does Android Market traffic compare with the Apple App Store? At this point, it’s difficult to tell. Based on the initial metrics, VentureBeat offers estimates that the Android Market downloads may reach “58 million after 100 days.” For comparison, the Apple App Store reached 100 million downloads in 60 days.

While the Android Market numbers aren’t earth shattering or record breaking, they are respectable. Given the current trends, the number of downloads should climb steadily, as should the number of applications available for download.

We’re sure to see more and more happening with the Market and the handset it supports – even though Google is currently in the position of following a path established by Apple. Lest we forget, this isn’t the first market Google has entered in this position. And they seem to have done fairly well for themselves in those markets. Will Android prove to be a similar win? That remains to be seen.

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