Google Play is beating Apple’s iOS App Store in total app downloads, according to the App Annie Market Index. (App Annie builds analytics platforms and statistical tools that parse out data about app ecosystems.) In the second quarter of 2013, app downloads from Google Play exceeded those from Apple’s iOS App Store by 10 percent, buoyed by strong activity in Brazil, India, and Russia. Both Google and Apple enjoyed strong revenues from mobile gaming, which topped the app categories for both companies (well ahead of utilities, lifestyle, communications and others). However, Apple still holds the lead in app monetization, with iOS apps generating 2.3 times the revenue of Android software. “The United States and China retained their positions at the top of the rankings and combined to make up about 40 [percent] of total iOS App Store downloads in Q2 2013,” the company added in a blog posting. “Third-party app stores play a significant role in the Chinese app economy, both for Android devices that can’t connect to Google Play and jailbroken iPhones.” The United States, Japan and the U.K. (in that order) led with regard to iOS revenue generation; Japan, South Korea and the United States (again, in that order) led Google Play in revenue generation. Despite its growth, Google Play faces several challenges. While Google Android owns a considerable share of the mobile-device market, it must continue to make inroads against Apple, which wields considerable influence among consumers, businesses, and developers. Google has taken steps to increase Android’s relevance for businesses, including the introduction in late 2012 of the Google Play Private Channel, which allows developers and companies to post internal apps for employees to a reserved app hub. Google also needs to scrub its app store of the malware that continues to mar its reputation. Google just released Android 4.3, an upgrade to its popular mobile operating system that features Bluetooth Smart support, restricted profiles, and other new features. It will go head-to-head against Apple’s iOS 7, a total revamp of the popular operating system expected to arrive on iPhone and iPad sometime this fall.   Image: App Annie