Top apps list shows Android users like games, BlackBerry lacks fun

We have seen some of the top download lists for mobile apps, but which apps were the best rated and most buzzed about in 2011? That’s a question that app-rating analytics firm Mobilewalla tackled, coming up with a list of the top five paid and free apps on four of the biggest mobile platforms.
Some of the results reflect overall popularity measured in downloads, but in other cases, there are apps that did quite well that may not be as familiar as Angry Birds. More interesting, I think, is the way the lists draw out distinctions between the different platforms and what that might mean, especially in the hunt for a third competitor after iOS (s AAPL) and Android. (s GOOG)
To be sure, this is a very small slice of the top apps, and larger trends would emerge if we looked at a bigger list of apps. Mobilewalla said it looked at store rankings, ratings, reviews, buzz on social networks and mentions on influential app blogs. Take a look at the lists based on the top Mobilewalla scores, and we will follow up with more commentary.
Android: top paid with score and release date

  1. MADDEN NFL 12 (0.936) 09-01
  2. Dragon, Fly! Full (0.929) 09-28
  3. Earth And Legend (0.923) 09-28
  4. Great Little War Game (0.9218) 10-04
  5. SHADOWGUN (0.918) 10-28

Android: top free

  1. Pixlr-o-matic (0.975) 09-28
  2. Super Stickman Golf (0.975) 09-28
  3. Smurfs’ Village (0.970) 09-30
  4. Crime Story (0.964) 09-28
  5. Marvel Comics (0.963) 10-14

IOS: top paid

  1. Angry Birds Rio (0.939) 03-22
  2. Tiny Wings (0.928) 02-19
  3. Craigslist + Notifications. CraigsPro+ Craigslist + Photo Wall + Photo previews (0.917) 02-10
  4. Where’s My Water? (0.910) 09-22
  5. Lock My Photos — Password lock photos & picture data for peace of mind! (0.897) 05-21

IOS: top free 

  1. At Bat Lite (0.960) 02-25
  2. My Horse (0.952) 09-20
  3. Family Feud & Friends (0.935) 10-19
  4. Funny Videos & Pics by (0.927) 02-18
  5. MetalStorm: Wingman (0.923) 05-12

BlackBerry: top paid 

  1. Sea Storm Animated Theme 2.0 (0.947) 07-06
  2. Love Is Love — Great Offer of Valentine’s Day (0.919) 07-06
  3. Playboy’s Animated Luck O’ The Irish (0.904) 07-06
  4. Underwater HD Animated Theme (0.901) 07-06
  5. Juicy Girl Theme — On Sale! (0.895) 07-06

BlackBerry: top free 

  1. Memory Booster Pro (0.951) 04-26
  2. BlackBerry Protect (0.951) 03-08
  3. Memory Booster (0.949) 02-13
  4. AppsLock — Password Protect Applications (Full Version) (0.947) 07-31
  5. Slider Lock Free — slide to unlock your phone (0.945) 10-27

Windows Phone 7: top paid

  1. Phone 8 (0.923)05-17
  2. Weather Live (0.917) 07-07
  3. Fuse (0.890) 2011-08-29
  4. IFun (0.890) 03-23
  5. SuperTube (0.884) 03-20

Windows Phone 7: top free

  1. TuneIn Radio (0.967) 02-23
  2. Penguin (0.960) 06-24
  3. — Dictionary and Thesaurus (0.957) 06-27
  4. GMaps (0.957) 04-22
  5. PhotoFunia (0.957) 06-27

There are a couple of interesting things to point out on this list. Despite what Xyologic recently reported on Android users’ favoring nongaming apps, seven of the top Android apps between paid and free were games. That suggests that when Android users find games they like, they take note. IOS is evenly split between games and nongames in the top five. That shows that Android users do like their games, even if their platform doesn’t have the same reputation for gaming that iOS has.
But Anindya Datta, the founder and executive chairman of Mobilewalla, said the Android findings might reflect the fact that Google’s operating system is pushing into a lot of developing countries, where games are more accessible than more-sophisticated apps. But he said Android users are still focusing on a narrower band of apps at the top, something we wrote about earlier, while iOS users tend to discover a wider range of apps. He said the year-end data confirms this, which is still a challenge for Android developers.
Another interesting finding was that the BlackBerry paid app list was dominated by wallpaper apps while the free app list had more utilities. Datta said that one of the challenges for RIM (s RIMM) is that BlackBerry users don’t turn to their phones for fun and passing time. That might not surprise anyone, considering BlackBerry’s enterprise roots, but it could be an issue if RIM wants to challenge iOS and Android as a third platform, ahead of Windows Phone 7 (s MSFT). Increasingly, the battle includes apps, and it is important to have a good, large and diverse library of apps. If BlackBerry wants to compete broadly, it needs to show it can be a place where people can enjoy all manner of apps, especially the popular ones like games and entertainment that bring fun to people’s lives.