The global market for smartphones and tablets seems to show no signs of slowing down anytime soon, and with the enormous popularity and advances in the capabilities of these devices, the phone application industry continues to see continued growth and innovation as well. Global phone app sales hit a staggering $18 billion last year and there were more than 63 billion apps downloaded in total. 57.3 billion were free apps and 6.6 billion were paid apps.
These figures come from Gartner, a technology research company, which also predicts that this year the numbers will be even larger. This year’s figures should reach 102 billion phone app downloads - 92.8 billion free and 9.9 billion paid. Considering there are only around six billion of us walking around this planet, these are almost unbelievably huge numbers.
But hold on to your hats - if you think that’s impressive, Gartner estimates that by the year 2017 there will be around 268 billion apps downloaded. That’s one heck of a lot of downloads, folks.
It seems almost everyone is an app developer these days.
There are apps for almost everything imaginable - from spy phone apps to apps that give off scents (no joke) - and more appearing every day. It’s difficult to think of anything new to offer, but of course, people keep trying. Some of the wackier and whimsical apps include iSteam, an app that “steams up” your iPhone’s display so that you can write on it with your finger like a shower door; and Rotary Dialer, an app which allows you to dial numbers using the old-school method.
These are just two of the thousands of fun and novel apps available for those with lots of time on their hands and a penchant for the unusual. Of course, there are plenty of useful apps out there and many are undergoing further refinement. Whether for entertainment or practical purposes, it seems that the smartphone and tablet-using public has a huge appetite for new and improved apps, and there’s no foreseeable end in sight. And the market is not limited to English speakers or the European continent.
China is already the largest smartphone market in the world and the country’s largest provider (China Mobile) has around 700 million customers.
The demand for phone apps in China is likely to have a huge impact on the growth of the industry in coming years. Who knows? Maybe Gartners projections for the future are on the modest side. Only time will tell.