There were 5 billion apps downloaded in 2010, with that number predicted to balloon to 21 billion by 2013. The infographic below details how that growth has played out in terms of popularity and platforms, and how it has largely been Apple’s game up to now, but also how other platforms like Android have firmly taken hold for the future.
Put together by app developers Shoutem, the illustration below is a bit of a hodge-podge of stats, but there are a few interesting takeaways too:
Bigger not always stronger. The three biggest smartphone makers all developing handsets on Android — which, consequently, is the most-popular smartphone platform. Based on device numbers, Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) only ranks fifth, but its premium pricing has made Apple, as of this quarter, the biggest phone maker in terms of revenues.
Its app store rankings are also outsized in comparison: it has had the most downloaded apps, despite that smaller number of installed devices.
Games are niche, except when they are blockbusters. Although the most popular apps on three of the platforms are games — Angry Birds (App Store); AlphaJax (GetJar); Zum Zum (Ovi) — games as a category doesn’t register as one of the most popular. That honor goes to social networking apps like Twitter and Facebook, with maps the second-most popular group.
The move away from “content” in mobile content. Of the 10 app categories to watch for 2012, three of them are related to financial transactions: money transfers, mobile payments and NFC.
Meanwhile, only one — mobile music — is dedicated to something you would actually consume on your handset. That underscores the big shift we have seen in mobile content, whose roots were in products like ringtones, wallpapers, and other items to personalise your handset. That business has waned, as handsets and networks have become more sophisticated, and we spend more time and money using our handsets to do much more.
Of course, this list might be more aspirational than actual, with services like Square and the whole promise of NFC only now starting to pick up steam.