Few freebies to be found on new desktop app store

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The Independent Tech

In the short few months Apple's Mac App Store has been open, developers have raced to get their Mac-friendly applications in front of users, however, only a small proportion of them are available for free.

While app stores like Apple's iOS App Store, Google's Android Market and Nokia's Ovi store sport thousands of free and ad-supported apps, only 12 percent of the apps in the Mac App Store are free.

More than 50 percent of the apps in the Android Marketplace are free, 35 percent of apps in the App Store for iPhone are free and 29 percent of all applications in the App Store for iPad are free, said app store analyst Distimo in a report on the US-based Apple, BlackBerry, Google, Nokia, Palm and Windows app stores for February 2011.

According to Distimo, not only are there fewer free apps in the Mac App Store,  the average selling price for the top 300 applications is seven times higher than in the Apple App Store for iPhone.

Users pay an average of $11.21 for a top 300 app in the Mac App Store vs $1.57 in the iPhone App Store and $4.19 in the iPad App Store.

The distribution of paid and free apps may change with the release of Apple's Mac OS X Lion, an operating system that emulates many of the most-loved features in the iPhone and iPad operating systems.

Mac OS X Lion is due in Summer 2011 and will bring native support for full screen applications, an iOS-like application launcher, gesture-controlled app switching, and additional multitouch gesture support - bringing the desktop experience closer to the iOS platform than ever before.

The launch of the Mac App Store has already changed application usage on the Mac.

Apple Macintosh computers have seldom been used for gaming in the past but since the launch of the Mac App Store, Mac users have started downloading and playing games with a newfound voracity.

"In the Mac App Store, gaming is still less popular than on the iPhone and iPad, with iPad having over 50% more games listed among the most popular applications than the Mac App Store. However, the popularity of games in the Mac App Store combined with the fact that there are already 646 games in the store, signals the Mac App Store could boost Mac gaming," noted Distimo in its report released on March 18.