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Google Says 700,000 Applications Available for Android

Google Inc. said there are about 700,000 applications available for downloading onto mobile devices that run the Android operating system, challenging Apple Inc.’s lead in the race for software tools.

That means Google has matched Apple in the number of games, productivity tools and other programs that are usable on handheld electronics, including tablets and smartphones. Apple said last week that its App Store has more than 700,000 apps.

By luring software developers to its Android platform, Google is attempting to eliminate a key selling point Apple has used for the iPhone and iPad. Applications have become a battleground as the two companies look for an edge in the $219.1 billion smartphone market, akin to how Microsoft Corp. dominated the personal-computer business by getting other companies to write programs for its Windows operating system.

The rivalry extends beyond smartphones. Google today unveiled a tablet with a 10-inch screen and costing $399 to rival the iPad. The two companies also have introduced tablets with smaller screens.

In the race for software developers, Apple has argued that its iOS operating system leads to more sales. Apple said last week that it has paid $6.5 billion to developers since the App Store was introduced in 2008.

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