The iOS App Store and the Google Play store are by far the largest and most important channels through which app publishers can bring their offerings to market. They've established a duopoly with a combined inventory of more than 4 million apps.  

However, neither is perfect and each has unique advantages and drawbacks:

  • The App Store offers higher return on investment and a more affluent customer than Google Play. Yet the App Store only gives publishers access to around 17% of the global app market. 
  • Google Play offers a much wider reach and faster app review process. But much of Android's user base is in emerging markets, which means there’s less revenue to be generated. 

Because the stores have a combined market share of about 97% globally, most publishers will need to contend with the ins and outs of both. Here is a rundown of the strengths and weaknesses across six key elements of the developer experience in both the App Store and Google Play store.

bii app store comparisonBI Intelligence

Review Times And Processes 

Review processes are intended to keep the stores free from apps that are malicious, broken, dangerous, or offensive. At the same time, the review process can be slow, which holds consequences for developers:

  • Slow review times can bottleneck software fixes. In these instances, the developer must first find the bug, fix the issue, and then wait for the app store review process to approve the solution.
  • Slow review times can impede innovation. The success of an app hinges on its ability to continually evolve and appeal to consumers over time. This requires constant updates to content and user interfaces. The longer the review time, the less able developers are to address these needs.
  • Slow review times can make logistical decisions more difficult. Some apps require deployment over multiple channels, such as across wearables, smartphones, and connected TVs. Slow review times can hamper publishers’ ability to deploy across multiple platforms simultaneously.

The faster the app store review process, the faster a developer can get their app in front of consumers, and the faster it can roll [...]