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iPad reaches 3 billion app downloads in less than two years

New research shows that iPad users have cumulatively downloaded an estimated three billion applications since the iPad launched in April of 2010. That's a mere year and a half ago, and faster than the two years it took the iPhone to reach the same milestone, according to Allied Business Intelligence Research. The release notes that Android tablets have only reached around 440 million app downloads for comparison.

There were around 120,000 iPad-specific apps published as of Q3 2011. According to ABI Research, not only is there a larger quantity of tablet-specific apps available on the App Store compared to the Android Market, iPad apps are also generally considered to be higher quality than apps specific to Android tablets.

"In terms of hardware, the iPad device still offers much more compared to the current crop of tablets in the market," Dan Shey, practice director, mobile services, said. "Android is currently being used on many low end tablets that do not offer experiences anywhere near the iPad and this dampens the download momentum for users."

The release does note that this is expected to change with the recent release of Android 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich. ABI Research also expects manufacturers to increase hardware specifications to close the gap between current Android tablets and the iPad. By 2016, annual Android app downloads for smartphones are predicted to hit 58 billion, compared to 27 billion for the iPhone.

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