During the course of 2016, we’ve published two reports uncovering the state of mobile SDKs: one in April and on in October. We explored which SDK categories are most popular, exposed which SDKs are leading their category and even compared global and local trends. And judging by last year, we knew 2017 would be as interesting to explore, if not more.

We’ve just published a new report, looking at January 2017. The data comes from a thorough analysis of over 100,000 Android apps, featured in various Google Play stores around the world and available to download for free.  Together, these apps integrate hundreds of SDKs, from the top industry players to new players hoping to take the mobile world by storm.

And let us tell you right now that looking at the January data, and comparing it to the data from our previous reports (and the months in between), we’ve spotted some truly fascinating trends…

Main Highlights

Please note that we are sharing here a partial selection of the findings that are presented in the full report. To access the full report (download is free) click here.

How Many SDKs are integrated in a Mobile App?

When we started back in April, we saw apps using 15.6 SDKs on average. Well, now, in January that number is 17.8 SDKs. Here’s how the average number changed in the past year:

SafeDK | Avg. # of SDKs 2016

The number is constantly on the rise.

We saw a tremendous rise during most of 2016, which seemed to have subsided a bit near its end. We speculated in our October report that the introduction of Firebase’s packages had a little something to do with that.

However, while we saw the trend consistent through the various play store categories in October, we now see it varies:

SafeDK | Avg. # of SDKs by Store Category Jan 2017

We saw some categories are using less SDKs on average than in October. However, these same categories had a tremendous spike last quarter, much more than average, so we consider this simply a form of “course correcting”. Relative to last year, they’re still using more SDKs.

And what if we looked at apps by install bases? Well, you can’t expect us to give it all away. Go download the report for free now and find out.

Which are the most popular SDK Categories?

Not much has changed in the needs of app publishers. Most still need Analytics and Advertising most of all.

SafeDK | Most Popular Mobile SDK Categories Jan 2017

It’s interesting to see here that Payment got stronger. More and more apps are going the freemium route, offering the basic product completely free with a few paid perks. We’ll hint that when taking the In-App Purchase SDKs out of the Payment mix, we can see some surprises (and that’s even before we hinted to the local trends…)

Who are the Top SDK Players at the start of 2017?

SafeDK | Top Mobile SDK Players Jan 2017

Firebase is rising faster than ever, make it not only to the top 5 but to third place.

UnityAds gains strength over Chartboost in the Games categories, edging it out of the top overall five.

And that’s not all. Our report includes a drilldown into the popular categories as well. Download it for free now!

How does the SDKs Map Look in Different Countries?

SafeDK | Avg. # of SDKs by Publisher Origin Jan 2017

The report also includes a drilldown for selected countries in various regions, reflecting the top categories and the trends of local app publishers.

Here’s just one of many examples: While not in the global top 5, TapJoy is the third most popular Advertising SDK among Chinese publishers. And look at the AdMob and Chartboost fall… Interesting, wouldn’t you say?

SafeDK | Top Advertising SDKs in China January 2017

Happy New Year!

2017 has just started and we’re already getting the sense it’ll be an interesting year for the mobile ecosystem as a whole, and for mobile SDKs in particular. We can’t imagine what the state of SDKs will be at the end of this year, but we just had to take a snapshot of the trends at the start of the year.

Which SDKs categories are most popular, which SDKs are popular in each category, how many SDKs apps are using, and how all those numbers change for local regions. We’ve got it all and then some.

So what are you waiting for? Download it for free now.

The State of Mobile SDKs at the Start of 2017 | SafeDK