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Study: App downloads to reach 48 billion by 2015

iphone-appsThe smartphone market is expected to keep on booming over the next four years and, not surprisingly, those devices will be populated with an increasing array of downloaded apps. By 2015, market research firm In-Stat expects app downloads to come close to eclipsing 48 billion. That’s a healthy figure in an increasingly crowded app market.

Yesterday, during the World Wide Developer’s Conference (WWDC), Apple announced that it currently has some 425,000 apps available through its iTunes App Store. According to Apple, more than 14 billion iOS apps have been downloaded since the App Store launched three years ago. Google’s Android Market currently has around 200,000 apps available and has amassed about 4.5 billion downloads. In-Stat expects smartphones to account for 45 percent of all mobile phone shipments by 2015, up from 23 percent of shipments today.

The growing popularity of touchscreen devices and more sophisticated apps are two factors expected to fuel the app download rush over the next several years. According to In-Stat, touchscreens will be featured on 90 percent of smartphones that ship during 2011 and that figure could easily reach 100 percent in the near future.

“The prevalence of handset touchscreens is a significant development impacting the mobile applications market,” said Amy Cravens, an In-Stat senior analyst. “The projected rapid penetration of touchscreen-enabled devices will allow more users to easily interact with mobile applications, thereby driving growth. Increased on-board memory capacity will also lead to a better user experience.”

While Research In Motion, Nokia and Microsoft also have their own app portals, iOS and Android users are more likely to download more apps than users of other mobile operating systems.