App-attack: Smartphone app downloads hit 81 billion mark

Published December 17th, 2012 - 12:22 GMT
App downloads for smartphones have hit 81 billion
App downloads for smartphones have hit 81 billion

Mobile application storefronts have collectively distributed a total of 81 billion smartphone and tablet apps as of end-September 2012, according to a report.

The recent market study from ABI Research showed that out of those, 89 percent were downloaded from native storefronts that come with the device's operating system.

"The current status quo is based on storefronts that the operating system vendors provide as part of the OS experience, and there is no evidence that this would change in the future," Enterprise Innovation quoted Aapo Markkanen, ABI Research senior analyst, as saying.

"A year ago it still looked like that, for example, mobile operators could find a viable business case in the curation of Android apps, but that opportunity evaporated once Google got its storefront act together," he added.

According to the report, Markkanen said that it makes sense for operators to distribute apps only under special circumstances, such as the those springing up in China.

Similarly, it's unlikely that the universal, catch-all nature of app distribution would start breaking up into smaller niche storefronts.

"Running a user-friendly app distribution channel is expensive. Besides the adequate hosting and billing systems it takes quite a lot of human labor, since successful app discovery requires some form of editorial approach," Markkanen said.

"The opportunity for smaller storefronts built around selected categories is therefore limited," he added. 

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