Want Free Apps? Get an Android or iPhone.

The easiest place to get the apps that you want for your smartphone is to head to the online marketplace associated with that manufacturer. If you are looking at getting a new phone (especially if it is your first smartphone) you may want to review your app options. And if you’re specifically interested in getting free apps then you might want to think seriously about getting an Android handset since recent research shows that the Google Android marketplace has a higher percentage of free apps than any of the other markets.

50%+ Android Market Apps are Free

Research from Distimo reveals that more than half of the apps that are available through the Google Android Market are free. This is the highest percentage of free apps in any of the online marketplaces. (Incidentally, the lowest percentage is over in the Windows Marketplace for Mobile where fewer than 25% of the available apps are free and many of those are published specifically by Microsoft.)

iPhone and Android are the Real Competitors

Although the Blackberry App Store, Nokia Ovi Store, Palm App Catalog and Windows Marketplace for Mobile are all starting to grow the real competition remains strongest between the iPhone and Android app stores. It does have to be noted that there are more apps in total for the iPhone right now. Because of this, you may find that there are more free apps over at iTunes right now than there is in the Google Android Market. However, the Android market is growing rapidly. If you’re seeking to keep your handset for a long time and want to be assured of access to free apps then the Android seems to be a safe bet.

Despite having a lower percentage of free apps iPhone is still a good choice if you’re generally interested in cheap apps. Although Android has a higher percentage of free apps, iTunes has a slightly higher percentage of paid apps that cost under $1. When you get into the higher price range, Android has a higher percentage of apps that cost more than $3 USD each. The average price paid for the Top 100 paid apps in each marketplace is lower for iTunes than for Android. So if you’re concerned only with getting free apps then Android may be a smarter choice but if you’re looking for total overall cheap apps then iTunes could be better.

Blackberry and Windows Priciest

Of all of the app stores, the Blackberry App store and the Windows Marketplace for Mobile seem to be the two most expensive right now. For all of the other stores, at least half of the apps available can be downloaded for $2 USD or less. This isn’t true for Blackberry and Windows. In fact, a significant percentage of the apps downloaded for these phones cost more than $5 USD and as much as $50+ USD. Blackberry offers no paid apps for under $3 USD and Windows has the second-lowest percentage of apps priced beneath this amount. Notably, this has to do in part with the fact that these phones may be geared towards people seeking high-end business productivity apps. However, there are arguably comparable apps for the other smartphones offered at lower prices in the online marketplaces for those phones.

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