SAN FRANCISCO, December 6, 2011 (AFP) - Google said Tuesday that over 10 billion applications have been downloaded from the Android Market, which offers free and paid programs for smartphones and tablet computers running the Internet giant's operating system.
"This past weekend, thanks to Android users around the world, Android Market exceeded 10 billion app downloads -- with a growth rate of one billion app downloads per month," Eric Chu, director of the Android Developer Ecosystem, said in a blog post.
"We can't wait to see where this accelerating growth takes us in 2012," Chu said.
To celebrate achieving the 10-billion download mark, Google said Android developers would offer a selection of apps a day for the next 10 days for just 10 cents each.
Google's announcement comes exactly five months after Apple announced that more than 15 billion applications for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch have been downloaded from its App Store.
More than half of the smartphones sold worldwide in the third quarter of the year were powered by Android software, according to technology research firm Gartner.
A total of 60.5 million Android-powered smartphones were sold in the third quarter, giving the operating system a 52.5-percent market share, up from 25.3 percent in the same quarter a year ago, Gartner said.
Nokia sold 19.5 million smartphones using its Symbian operating system in the third quarter but its share of the smartphone market fall to 16.9 percent from 36.3 percent a year ago.
Apple sold 17.3 million iPhones powered by iOS software during the quarter. Apple's market share slipped to 15.0 percent from 16.6 percent a year ago.