mobile_platformsAn app for everything is where we are heading onto as almost everything goes mobile. By mobile I simply point at mobility and not just smartphones in the likes of the Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, etc, although these are the devices that take the cake away the instant you mention mobility. We have witnessed how the app stores have swarmed with applications of all sorts, from those associated to communication, social networking to gaming. You think of it and there is something available, a major reason why there is a crazy number of downloads taking places each instant.

A recent study was published by ABI Research, the gist of which states that the current trend of smartphone apps will continue successfully for at least another 5 years. Before I proceed with the exact download numbers, it would be better to jot down the number of applications available for various mobile operating systems:

  • Apple App Store: 350,000 apps
  • Android Market: 330,000 Apps
  • Nokia Ovi Store: 54,000 Apps
  • RIM App World: 16,000 apps
  • Windows Marketplace: 15,000 apps

The longest runners in the mobile app category are Apple (June 10, 2008) and Android Market (October 22, 2008). Both have been around the scene for less than 3 years and in this period the App Store has crossed 10 billion downloads while users have downloaded over 4.2 billion apps from the Android Marketplace, putting the cumulative number of downloads for the two operating systems over 14 billion. Which is gargantuan by all means.

While the increasing number of downloads is just one side of the story, there is a rising challenge for all existing players in the arena. Apple for instance, faces tough competition from the likes of Android and the Windows Marketplace, the former catching more steadily as users adopt to the Android platform. Things will get tougher as Nokia puts its deal with Microsoft into practicality and introduces Nokia’s set of Windows Phones in 2012. Not that Windows Phones aren’t already in abundance, but powering Nokia devices, Microsoft will have another manufacturer to port its operating system to and tap into the market of Nokia fans waiting for the mobile OS’ overhaul.

If all this stands true, mobile application download will cross 44 billion downloads by 2016. That number is cumulative, meaning it includes app downloads for all mobile operating system. Users will look forward to better apps that are feature rich and would thus demand developers to continue produce applications that trigger their fancy and get them to download the application they create. From where I see it, there will be a great bit of transformation both in the mobile app ecosystem along with the evolution of the market model; in app payment model is just one example of the evolving “app-economy”.

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