The popularity of the iPad and copycat tablets is fuelling the App market with worldwide revenue of mobile apps said to soar past $15 billion this year due to both its end users buying apps and applications themselves generating revenue for developers.
Just last week, Apple passed the 100 billion App Store download mark, and now Gartner forecasts that downloads will reach 17.7 billion in 2011 due to competition from the Android market, Nokia’s Ovi Store, Research In Motion’s App World, Samsung Apps and Microsoft’s Marketplace.
Several new tablets are also scheduled for launch this year, meaning that the demand for apps is set to explode.
While Apple continues to dominate the market with 90 percent of apps being downloaded from its App Store in 2010, Gartner forecasts over 185 billion applications will be downloaded by 2014 due to the growth of application stores across the other OS platforms.
The 190 percent increase in revenue, up from revenue of $5.2 billion in 2010, comes despite 80 percent of application downloads being free. However, Gartner says the number of free apps will decrease as users begin paying for more apps, and gain more trust in billing mechanisms.
Apple, and other app stores, collect one third of the retail price of all apps sold, with 70pc going to the software developers.
Meanwhile Google is considering ways to increase sales of Android apps. At its San Francisco conference, Inside Social Apps, this week, Eric Chu, Google’s Android platform manager outlined its plans to encourage more paid app sales, with a new in-app payment system and by improving the method by which its apps are ranked, so that users can find popular apps more effectively.
Stephanie Baghdassarian, Research Director at Gartner, said: “Many are wondering if the app frenzy we have been witnessing is just a fashion, and, like many others, it shall pass.
“We do not think so. We strongly believe there is a sizeable opportunity for application stores in the future. However, applications will have to grow up and deliver a superior experience to the one that a Web-based app will be able to deliver. Native apps will survive the Web enhancements only when they will provide a more-personal and richer experience.”