A new market study by ABI Research reveals that the worldwide mobile applications (apps) industry is well on its way to achieving 44 billion cumulative downloads by 2016.
Google Android and Microsoft Windows Phone 7 are steadily catching up with Apple iOS as adoption picks up pace and expansion of their mobile Operating System (OS) installed bases continues to grow.
The mobile app ecosystem and market model is also expected to evolve with the increasing pool of smartphone and tablet users.
"Given the vast number of choices available, app developers and app stores need to innovate continually in order to maintain consumers’ interest," said ABI Research analyst Fei Feng Seet.
An app called OfferedApp promises to provide a paid app each day in exchange for users completing a simple survey or signing up for an offer with advertisers. Some apps also offer virtual currency or other premiums to consumers who download a featured app from the developer.
However these new marketing tactics are likely to face opposition as iTunes starts to clamp down on such incentivized promotions when they cut into Apple’s revenue from in-app sales.
iTunes is also rumoured to have made modifications to its App Store ranking algorithm: the new ranking system takes into account qualitative information such as reviews, on top of download statistics.
According to ABI practice director Neil Strother, "App store browsing on devices has been an issue with users, who can face difficulty finding an app of interest."
Having many misleading apps hogging the top charts for a week at a time does not help either, so this could not be a better time for Apple to reform its app ecosystem in an environment where competition and consumer heightened expections are increasing the pressure.