From a low-key user gathering in 2010, AndroidTO has sprung into a full-fledged digital tech conference drawing several hundred attendees at the Scotiabank Theatre on October 25th.

The third yearly installment included presentations from Google (NASDAQ:GOOG,) Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) and Tumblr complementing regular contributions from Rogers (TSX:RCI.B), App Promo and WattPad, winner of Canadian Startup of 2011 from KPMG.

New for 2012 was the addition of a Design Track to accompany the established Developer and Business streams.

As we know, the Android platform continues to see gains in Canada, now accounting for 36 percent of the Canadian mobile market compared to 29 percent for Apple's iPhone and 27 percent for Research in Motion's BlackBerry.

The explosion in smartphone and tablet use is creating a vibrant ecosystem for Android apps but the monetization challenge continues, as 75 percent of these apps remain free. That's great for consumers but developers have to do better than cover their costs.

The iOS App Store generates six times the total revenues of the Android Market. Furthermore, iPhone app sales earn just over four times the profits of the Android Market, meaning a developer who got $1 on the iTunes App Store would only get $0.23 from Google Play.

Developers, it would seem, need to learn better app monetization strategies, whether through in-app purchases, driving traffic through social channels or advertising.

As AndroidTO continues to grow and the app community continues to unite and the knowledge keeps flowing, Android will become more profitable as developers, designers and marketers find the answers.

Clearly, the opportunity exists as Google Chairman Eric Schmidt is calling for a billion Android activations by 2013, double the existing amount worldwide at present. A big boost in attendance at AndroidTO is not out of the question either.

Discuss more about the mobile app industry in our Smartphone and Tablet forum.