It seems to be an overly broad statement, but it really is true. No matter how you look at the Android Market, app quality is low. Pathetically low. I've not looked at the numbers lately, but the iOS App Store has around 500,000 apps and Android Market is hovering in the 300,000 app range. It's not even close to that close.
The Non-App Apps
I've written in the past about the reasons why app store numbers don't matter. At that time there were nearly 50,000 apps that were fell in the category of a theme, widget, font pack or settings app. Those numbers have grown over time but one thing remains the same; these are all apps that would never see the light of day on the iOS App Store.
Pumpers: Also known as Spam Developers
There are also a lot of developers that release the same app with modified content under many different names in Android Market. I called out developers like Handmark, MyLocalTV and Zumobi in my first post, but I saw a Tweet over the weekend from Android Police that makes my pumper list look like a group of pretenders.
If you look up Green Flame Apps in Android Market you'll find over 2,000 apps from this one developer that are likely nothing more than Wikipedia entries in an app wrapper. Apple banished what they term as spam developers two years ago, purging all of their crapps in the process. They're no problem at all on Android Market.
Junk apps and their place in the Market
The other day I wanted to find a remote app to control my Roku streaming media player like the Apple Remote or the DirecTV app on my iPad. I found a couple of really nice options like RokuByte and Roku Remote, but I also found some totally garbage apps like Roku DVP Remote and RokuControl. Functional? Maybe, I didn't buy either. Acceptable? No. Pathetically low quality apps being sold alongside well designed apps that both function flawlessly and give me exactly what I was looking for.
Don't limit your search for low quality apps to Roku remotes. Look at Twitter apps, browsers, games, office apps, photo apps or music players. Pick any category and you'll find few quality apps and lots of garbage filling the results. There are so many garbage apps in Android Market that if I don't find what I am looking for in the first twenty or so results I stop looking.
Why is this allowed to happen?
Why are there so many quality apps in the iOS App Store and so few in Android Market? Why does Apple curate their App Store to maintain a quality level while Google allows a free-for-all in Android Market? It's simple; Apple's vision of the future revolves around native apps and Google sees a future that only involves web apps. Local vs Cloud.
I'm going to do a post on the Apple vs Google strategy later in the week, but Google views Android Market as a placeholder while HTML5 and web apps mature to the point of being able to take the place of native apps on Android.