New estimates from ABI Research show that 7.9 billion mobile apps were downloaded in 2010, 5.6 billion of them from the Apple iTunes app store. ABI’s Mobile Applications Market Data tracks downloads and revenues for all major operating system platforms.
The research firm doesn’t expect Apple to maintain that much of a competitive margin in 2011, however, citing quarterly shipments of Android smartphones that already exceed those of Apple iPhones. ABI’s numbers put downloads from the Android Market and third-party platforms like GetJar at 1.9 billion for 2010. RIM BlackBerry app downloads, meanwhile, made up the balance.
The apps race should continue to be interesting over the course of 2011 and beyond. Apple has more than double the 130,000 apps in the Android Market, but with more developers broadening their efforts to target Android users—not to mention so many more Android-based devices hitting the market, giving users more choices—that is certain to change quickly.
Not mentioned in ABI’s report was Microsoft, which launched its Windows Phone 7 in 2010. The impact Microsoft’s entry into the apps market—not to mention its partnership with handset maker Nokia—will have on the Apple vs. Android (vs. RIM) showdown remains to be seen.