Mobile application downloads will reach five billion by 2014, say analysts at ABI Research. This is an increase from an estimated 2.3 billion applications downloaded in 2009.
The growing adoption of smartphones, such as Apple's iPhone, which saw sales rise 20 percent in 2009, as well as the proliferation of application stores, are the major drivers for this expansive surge.
"The iPhone's share of the app market will contract from its 2010 level during the latter part of the forecast period, but it will remain the leading platform for applications," says wireless research associate Bhavya Khanna.
"The big beneficiary will be Android, which will see its market share of total application downloads increase from 11 percent of the market in 2009 to 23 percent in 2014.
"This rapid growth is driven by the mass adoption of the Android OS by both vendors and consumers from 2009 onwards. There are now more than 14 phones that run the Android OS, and many more will launch in 2010.
"This, coupled with the rollout of application stores from both smartphone vendors and network operators, will see the iPhone's share of the total market shrink between 2010 and 2014."
ABI Research expects revenue from mobile app sales to decline by 2013, as competition will lead to downward pressure on application prices, and a greater proportion of "must-have" applications will begin to face competition from free or advertising-supported substitutes. This has already started to happen, with the launch of Google's free turn-by-turn navigation service.
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