State of the Apps: How is Windows Phone faring against Android and iOS

State of apps

Everyone has heard the age-old complaint about Windows Phone: “I like the OS, but it doesn’t have all the apps I need.” That problem is slowly starting to disappear. In the last couple weeks alone we’ve seen Facebook Beta, Tumblr, Pandora, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Camera360, and others all come to Windows Phone.

It seems like the “app gap” is closing, but without some cold hard stats to back it up all we have is speculation. We have compiled a list of the top 20 free and top 20 paid apps from the Apple App Store* and Google Play** in order to answer some questions. First up is the app store that started this whole app craze to begin with.


As you can see Windows Phone doesn’t have many of the top iOS apps. Besides a couple apps like Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat most of the top 40 apps are games. The App Store is constantly fluctuating with hot new games, and that makes it hard for other platforms to keep up. A game like Iron Man 3 leaps into the top 20 almost as quickly as it drops out. The window for getting these hot apps is very small.

This is where Windows Phone really struggles. There are three prime examples of this: Words With Friends, Draw Something, and Temple Run. Windows Phone got Words With Friends and Draw Something almost three years after their initial release. Temple Run was released almost two years after it arrived on iOS. Let’s see if Windows Phone fares better against Google Play.


That’s much better. The Google Play top apps is made up of a lot more “practical” services instead of games. This makes it much easier for Windows Phone to compete because the same apps are consistently in the top. Apps like Pandora, Netflix, and Twitter will probably always be popular, unlike a game based on a new movie.

The window for getting these apps is much bigger. Windows Phone just got Pandora last month, but it was still a very relevant and important app to have. In other words, the Google Play store moves a lot slower than the App Store. It’s easier for Windows Phone to keep up.

The Numbers

Windows Phone has:

  • 35% of the top 80 paid and free apps from iOS and Android.
  • 50% of the top 40 paid and free Android apps.
  • 20% of the top 40 paid and free iOS apps.

Including the yellow apps Windows Phone has:

  • 45% of the top 80 paid and free apps from iOS and Android.


Windows Phone is a lot better off than it used to be. Except for apps like Instagram and Vine, Windows Phone basically has all the “practical” apps it needs. Games fluctuate so much that Windows Phone often gets left out unless a big developer like Rovio is behind the scenes. The pecking order for developers is still iOS>Android>Windows Phone. In the last few months alone we’ve seen the gap get smaller, and that should only continue.

Do you think Windows Phone will ever completely fill in the “app gap?”

*List compiled from iTunes Charts.
**List compiled from Google Play.

  • This one bugs me, cus I love the game, but while Windowsphone may technically HAVE “Draw Something”…it has massive bugs. It started out working fine, but now I cant even send a drawing once Ive drawn it, a problem that is very common according to their app reviews and support pages.

  • As much as I enjoy playing games, they really are not the make or break for me. As long as all the utility apps are there and work, I’d be happy with any phone.

  • CX1

    Of the top 27 missing iOS apps I could care less except for 1-2.

  • Pretty much same here. A lot of those games won’t matter in a month or two.

  • I completely agree. I’m more of an apps guy than a gamer.

  • Facebook Messenger is definitely NOT available on windows phone. But it’s the #1 app i really want!

  • A small analysis of how much of the top paid/free apps from the Windows Phone Store are on the App Store/Google Play would be nice ;)

  • WinSource

    If you pin Messages to the Start screen it works like Messenger. it even has the same icon. (In Facebook Beta)

  • I’m aware of that. But that dosnt count at all.
    Have you used the ios or android versions of messenger?

    We dont have the ability to attach or even view photos, no stickers, no working notifications, group messaging functionality is severely lacking, i’m sure there are other deficiencies i cant think of right now…

    I’ll be fine if they just add all these features to the FB app (the messenger app was only really necessary as the FB app on ios/android sucked a year ago, which they’ve now fixed)

  • Not having the app and not having certain functionality are two different things.

  • the built in windows messenger is just as good. if you want to attach pictures tell your friends to use whatsapp or kik.

  • digitalicecream

    Is FB messenger really necessary when it’s completely built into the phone? Oh I see what you mean. Not the absence of the app, but some of the specific functions that you’ll miss. gotcha.

  • f kwan

    Swype. Touchpal. Swiftkey. Whatever. One of them. It’s the only thing keeping me from owning a Windows phone, but it’s a definite deal breaker for me.

  • Man About It

    The app gap will never truly close as long as you see only those stinking App Store and Google Play logos on TV and print ads. Either the Windows Store logo needs to be there as well or none of them at all. Otherwise, those two little labels will have phone buyers looking for iPhones, Galaxies, Droids, and such instead of the Lumias we need more ppl buying so devs don’t have that excuse.