iOS, Android sway mobile apps growth

Ronnel Domingo
14 Sep 2010

Mobile application downloads from iOS - the iPhone's operating system - are forecast to make up for 52% of the total this year. Together with downloads from Google's Android, the two operating systems are forecast to account for 78% of all app downloads this year, according to ABI Research.

The research firm found that the numbers are driven by availability, variety and novelty in both the Android Market and the iTunes App Store. Also, the sale of Android phones has taken off in 2010, with over 160,000 activations being reported daily.

Analyst Bhavya Khanna said downloads from other platforms such as Blackberry's App World and Nokia's Ovi Store remain sluggish, hampered by a lack of variety and fragmentation among both manufacturers' many devices.

Revenues from mobile app sales continue their decline, as competition leads to a "race to the bottom." Full-featured games are available from between $0.99 and $5, and many popular applications are adopting ad-supported models.

Application store owners such as Google, Apple and mobile operators will continue to support low-priced and free applications because they help market and sell their devices. Making money will become a difficult proposition in a market that is expected to peak in 2011, with annual sales of just under $8 billion.

In a separate report, Juniper Research expects players across the mobile value chain to drive growth of consumer-oriented handset downloads as they seek to emulate Apple's success with the App Store. The study found that such firms are launching own-brand storefronts such as Mobile Market from China Mobile, Airtel App Central from Bharti and the Apps & Games Shop' on Vodafone 360.

Given this development, Juniper expects yearly download numbers to rise from less than 2.6 billion in 2009 to more than 25 billion in 2015. In fact, the transition to an app-centric environment has also benefited more established storefronts such as GetJar, which passed a billion downloads last July.


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