These are the top performing Android apps of all-time

Facebook app

App Annie has been crunching the figures on the most downloaded and biggest revenue generating apps the Play store has seen since its launch – and which categories of apps are most popular, including business-related efforts.

According to the report, since Google Play first kicked off in Q1 2012 through to Q1 2016, the amount of downloads from the store has risen by a factor of 3.8, with global revenue increasing by over 35 times.

So which are the most popular apps of all-time on the Play store?

Going by revenue, Line dominates the top three positions with the Line app, followed by Line Play and Line Manga. Pandora Radio is in fourth place, followed by KakaoTalk.

The Line apps are driven mainly by revenue from Japan, and both the Line app and Line Play are big hits on iOS, too. In overall terms, the biggest money-spinning apps are in the communication category, as well as social. Tools are in third place, and when it comes to work-related apps, productivity apps are in eighth place, with business apps bringing up the rear in tenth position.

Looking at the number of all-time downloads alone (i.e. including free apps) the top five is practically a clean sweep for Facebook, with the Facebook app itself at number one, followed by WhatsApp Messenger (owned by Facebook), Facebook Messenger, and Instagram (again, owned by Zuckerberg). Clean Master is the app at number five.

You couldn't draw a much clearer picture of how Facebook dominates mobile, one way or another.

Gaming goliaths

Games are, unsurprisingly, the biggest money-spinners overall and are responsible for around 90% of all-time revenue from the Play Store.

The top five games going by revenue were Puzzle & Dragons, Clash of Clans, Monster Strike, Candy Crush Saga, and finally Game of War – Fire Age.

As for the ranking of games going by all-time downloads, the top title was Subway Surfers, followed by Candy Crush Saga, Pou, Temple Run 2 and then Hill Climb Racing.

As you can see, Candy Crush Saga was unique in making the top five for both downloads and revenue, accruing not just a massive user base, but one willing to fork out for in-game purchases regularly enough to make some major money. Clash of Clans also did well on both fronts as it was number 10 in terms of downloads, as well as reaching the number two position for revenue.

App Annie observed that emerging markets are key for driving Google Play downloads and revenues moving forward, but publishers must explore different business models in order to successfully monetise these less income-rich areas.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).