India – The Android First Nation

This is a guest post by Sitakanta Ray

In my earlier post, I had discussed about the higher preference for iOS among international developers and that developers were more or less unsatisfied with the Android marketplace when it came to revenues.

However, is the case similar in India where the Android phones outnumber other operating systems?

I decided to investigate the following using popular apps from Utility, Banking, Retailing Entertainment and News organizations from India.  Here are my findings.

From the table above, we can make the following conclusions about the app-scene across platforms.

Clearly, Indian Service industry is more enamored by Android than other platforms.  Surprisingly among Indian utility service providers, BlackBerry seems to be preferred platform than iOS or Windows.
Interestingly enough, only the matrimonial sites have bothered to go across platforms for their apps, while most Public utility services have ignored all platforms other than Android. Perhaps this is a reflection of the higher Android penetration among the “common man”. With the lower priced Samsung Galaxy Pocket, all set to be released in India, the dominance of Android is all set to go up only.


News apps are some of the most popular apps used by the average Indian. In fact, this can be further validated by the massive number of News channel apps available on Google Play store. From mainstream English News channels such as NDTV, CNN-IBN, CNN and BBC to mainstream newspapers like Times of India, Indian Express, and Hindustan Times, all are well represented. There are even apps for vernacular newspapers such as Malayala Manorama, Madhyamam, Dainik Jagran, Dinakaran etc.

News apps are fairly well represented in the iOS Marketplace too, with as much as 14 out of 25 newspapers and news websites having an iOS app. The number is far less in Windows Phone and BlackBerry OS. News channels and papers identify the need to have an Android app and an iOS app, but have so far ignored the Windows Phone and BlackBerry devices.

Newspapers have made conscious effort to be available at least in one other platform than Android, with the national Dailies going across platforms.  Television channels however have embraced all platforms, possibly because of the sheer diversity in their viewer profiles. The national/ vernacular television channels such as Aaj Tak, India News however have ignored all Platforms except Android.


E-commerce companies have slightly lower presence when it comes to applications on smartphones. However, Android has higher presence than iOS and Windows with 7 websites. You can use the services of the top e-tailing companies Flipkart and LetsBuy for shopping or use the services of SnapDeal to get the best deals online.

E-tailing apps are expected to grow further with more players coming in the years to come.  Indian ecommerce sites are grossly missing out in most other ecosystem, with only Ngpay and eBay being present with apps in all marketplaces. SnapDeal surprisingly has an app for the Windows Phone but not for the iOS. Clearly e-commerce sites favor the Android OS.


Google Play offers a plethora of options for the users in the entertainment section. Users can book tickets for their favourite movies, concerts, plays etc. through BookMyShow app or use the apps of individual cinema such as PVR Cinemas and INOX. The Saavn app lets you listen to the latest music hits. Zomato gives you great comprehensive reviews of restaurants. There are even great gaming websites such as Zapak Mobile and Ibibo Games to keep you entertained. CricketNext Live and ESPN CricInfo will provide you the latest scores for your favourite IPL team while you are busy working.

Most of the entertainment sites have a presence in iOS but are missing in Windows Phone and Blackberry platforms. Android still remains the top favourite in the entertainment section.

Entertainment apps have clearly focused on the iOS as much as Android, perhaps a reflection of the audience they typically cater to. However, Windows and BlackBerry have been almost entirely ignored irrespective of the type of entertainment business.

Most entertainment businesses have focused on both the Android and iOS equally. It isn’t surprising considering Apple users and premium Android customers are one of the biggest consumers of entertainment services like booking cinema-tickets etc. or getting the latest updates on Music, Movies or Games.

Banking and Financial Services
Google Play also features apps from almost all popular banks in India. Online Banking and transactions have already grown significantly and it seems more and more people are choosing to pay their bills or transfer money using their smartphones. From PSU banks such as State Bank of India to multinational banks such as Citibank and Standard Chartered, the banking space is well represented with apps for their customers. Indian Banks have heavily focused on Android and iOS as the main platforms. This is probably to woo HNIs to their bank stating availability of Android and iPhone Apps, the latter being the most preferred among the elite. MNCs have equally focused on both these platforms as well as BlackBerry to cater to the business segment. It seems Windows Phone is the only OS that’s been almost completely ignored by the Banking and Financial sector.


Android remains the top marketplace of choice for the Indian businesses and app developers. It caters to almost all the needs of a typical Indian and does it brilliantly. It is mainly because of the easier availability of apps via marketplace and plethora of budget Android devices in the Indian market. The growth of the Android marketplace (Google Play store now) along with the presence of cheaper smartphones will continue to propel the growth of Android in the year 2012 too.

About the Author:

Sitakanta is the co-founder of MySmartPrice helps you find the best price of anything sold online in India.


      • Symbian!!!? well…. Sajitha which Century r u from?!!! Symbian R.I.P!!! No one prefers this platform any more even in nokia people prefer windows over Symbian … IT HAS THE LEAST NO. OF APPS AVAILABLE YOU FOOL… I would say even java is far better than Symbian….LOL


  1. Here’s a tip: every time you hear about the supposed “app advantage” that iOS holds over Android, it will be from an American, and he will be speaking about local apps (stuff such as “the new Usa Today/NYT/whatever magazine collection”, which can’t be very popular outside of the US). The truth of the matter is, as your post shows, a ton of time is spent on local apps that aren’t very influenced. Symbian also dominated the Chinese app scene until 2010 simply because it was the platform that had the most users – by far, although now Android has taken that place. Developers flock to where the users are, it’s just logic. The US may be the only country in which the installed base of all iOS devices is perhaps still larger than that of Android, hence the “conclusions” that you hear from some people. Admittedly the US is the epicenter of software, but assuming every other country follows the same patterns is ridiculous.

    The problem is that most important blogs are American, and often they assume that the other 95% of the world’s population simply doesn’t exist. And when they come up some data or assertion that applies only to the US, foreign, non-US blogs often regurgitate their statements without thinking twice.

    Judging from your article (which is very good, btw, I would like to see more of this type of content), I conclude that Android has a massive app advantage over iPhone. But that is simply not true: it’s the particular case of a country in which iPhone has very low market share, and on the contrary Android is dominant.

    I suspect that Android is gaining an advantage in other countries with this situation: China, Korea, most of Africa, and for example my own country Spain. However the share of sales does not equal share of installed base because growth has taken place very recently, until 2011 Symbian was dominant in Spain. Therefore although on paper Android has a 63% vs 7% advantage in market share (and that was right after the 4S launch), the difference in installed base is not so dramatic, especially when including the iPad. So in practice, every app in Spain is developed both for iPhone and for Android, very rarely do I see an app that comes only for Android and in that case usually in the following weeks or months it’s released for iPhone.

    Another thing: the vast majority of app downloads and app usage (by time) will always be spent on free apps. In fact, many of the apps you mentioned aren’t even “freemium” – a bank, for example, cares about the platform where its users are, not about selling add-on weapons for your character. Therefore, every time you hear that Android users are impossible to monetize and blahblahblah, well it’s true that they buy less apps per person. But that simply won’t matter for most people, since the apps we use are free and will remain so – banking, e-tailing, services, news and others are unlikely to ever go down the paid-only route. To say nothing of Facebook, all of the Google Apps, etc.

    In short, very interesting post, I would love to see something similar from China or Kenya, for example.


    • what they will do, will be reverse engineering not the actual talent. so be curious about the actual talent. android is still above from ipad. because of the law of consumer preference and satisfaction over two products (best fit to developing countries).


  2. There is not irctc official app. Nothing like eseva app.. out of first three two are missing in Android… I have to go through the rest… ur article is flawed…


  3. That would not be difficult to guess would it. How many indians would be able to buy 44k iPhone ?
    Blackberry numbers reflect the corporate culture in India.
    Android would be the domiating pltform in India. Now if only Goodle allowed Indian developers to sells apps we should see more Indian developed product apps.


  4. This is wonderful research for android platform & i know that Android will ROCK much more ahead.

    Just to say in other way round for IRCTC App – This site is ideally very slow to use in the machines as Indian Government are not looking for the Cloud Servers to manage Load Balance. If Indians will start using this services through Android Apps there server will go down.

    I think there will be no apps created for IRCTC. I am not against IRCTC it is just a thought.

    IRCTC website is one of the best site in India which i have personally used & there tracking & refund system is very awesome. I love it thoroughly.


  5. Good article and interesting findings. Some of the tables do not reflect the “Android” linked data properly. But overall good read.

    ANDROID Geeks, gurus and novices….looking for a challenge…please reach us.


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