Apple finally started facing some real competition in the app store market in 2010, with its upstart rivals outpacing it by growth in percentage of apps offered, according to Distimo.
While the Apple App Store grew the most in terms of volume of applications, doubling its total during the year to nearly 300,000, its competitors showed signs of catching up quickly in terms of developer support.
Android Market's volumes grew sixfold to almost 130,000, while BlackBerry App World and Nokia's Ovi Store each showed triple digit growth to a respective 18,000 and 25,000 apps, the app store analytics firm's 2010 report shows.
The proportion of free apps increased across all four platforms, and the average price of apps also almost universally declined, in a trend Distimo said indicated a shift towards monetization methods other than charging for app purchases.
The challengers benefited the most from this trend, with the number of free apps on the Ovi Store growing by nearly 900% in 2010 – compared to around 260% for paid apps. The disparity may also be down to the unavailability of operator billing for a number of Ovi Store users, Distimo said.
Prices for apps across all four platforms also fell more in line over the year, as the market became more standardized.
Broken down by category, Apple's store saw a trend towards more business and productivity apps while BlackBerry App World had more growth in entertainment-themed products – despite RIM's reputation as a business-focused handset maker.
The offerings on Android Market and Ovi were more evenly balanced between business and pleasure.