Apple still beats Google when it comes to app store profits, but a new study from App Annie reveals just how quickly the Play Store is catching up. The report reveals that Google Play app revenue more that doubled in the past 12 months, thanks in part to the accelerated growth of mobile gaming and freemium apps.

The potential for revenue on Google’s mobile OS is growing even quicker than the number of applications available. Around the world, Google Play revenue from apps alone increased by 2.4x, while downloads increased by 1.5x. Meanwhile, the number of apps available for Android also increased by about one-third.

App Annie also breaks down the Play Store based on type of app, with communications leading the pack for both number of downloads and revenue. Social media apps also bring in solid revenue through Google Play, while “Tools” and “Entertainment” are extremely popular but haven’t shown much growth over the past year when it comes to pure profit.

The main reason for Google Play’s  “phenomenal” growth may be the rise of the freemium app model, in which the initial download comes free but you’re prodded to spend more within an individual app. Android users have generally been less interested in spending money to download apps, but clearly they’re just as willing to spend in smaller increments to improve on a free service.

Android still has a ways to go before it can match Apple in app revenue, but Google’s OS is definitely becoming a more attractive option for third-party developers. That’s good news for Android fans, who have generally had to wait longer than their iPhone-owning friends to try out the latest mobile games and applications. Hopefully we’ll start seeing even more apps launch on both platforms at once.

Source App Annie