App Market Stars: Apple IOS, Android

Mobile application downloads from Apple iOS and Google Android will account for 78 percent of all application downloads in 2010, with iOS (the iPhone's operating system) taking the lion's share of 52 percent of all applications.

The numbers are driven by availability, variety and novelty in both the Android market and the iTunes App Store, which is currently unmatched by any other smartphone platform. Apple even added a "try before you buy" option this week.

In addition, the sale of Android phones has taken off in 2010, with over 160,000 activations being reported daily.

"The iTunes App Store's days of being the only game in town are over, although the store will continue to be the biggest player in the market," said ABI Research wireless research analyst Bhavya Khanna.

"However, downloads from other platforms, such as Blackberry's App Store 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 high competition leads to a "race to the bottom."

Full-featured games are available from between 59p and £3.99 (US$.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.

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