By Kevin Chen / Staff Reporter
As mobile-phone applications become a key feature for many smartphones along with increased smartphone penetration, application downloads in the Asia-Pacific region will shoot up this year and Android apps look set to upset Apple’s iOS apps for the first time, according to a research report.
Mobile phone app downloads are expected to be about 5 billion by the end of this year in the Asia-Pacific region, up 189 percent from 1.6 billion downloads last year, research firm Ovum Ltd said in a report, Mobile Application Download and Revenue Forecast: 2011–16, released on Thursday.
App downloads in the region are likely to reach 14 billion over the next five years, the -Australia-based telecom researcher predicted.
In terms of revenues, sales of paid apps could hit US$871 million in the Asia-Pacific region this year, compared with US$302 million last year, and the numbers will grow steadily to US$2.2 billion by 2016, Ovum said.
“Consumers’ seemingly insatiable demand for mobile applications is set to continue this year, with downloads from app stores increasing around the world,” Ovum devices analyst Nick Dillon said in a statement.
“The outlook for the longer term is also positive, with consumers set to continue to use apps to add new features to their phones and to access their favorite services on the go.”
In July, Apple said that over 15 billion apps had been downloaded from its App Store, with more than 425,000 apps available at the time.
However, Apple’s dominance in this market is facing a strong challenge as more smartphone users adopt the Android system, Ovum said.
The report said 1.8 billion Android apps would be downloaded in the Asia-Pacific region this year, compared to Apple’s 1.5 billion. Last year, Apple saw 424 million app downloads in the region, higher than Android’s 244 million, it added.
“The huge lead in downloads that Android will take on Apple is being driven by the growth of the platform as a result of its increasing popularity and progress into lower price points,” Dillon said.
Android’s dominance in the Asia-Pacific apps market will soar over the next few years, with 6.07 billion downloads by 2016 compared with 3.4 billion downloads from Apple’s App Store, the report said.
However, iPhone will continue to lead the regional market in terms of revenue from paid apps, reaching US$808 million in 2016, compared with US$394 million for Android-powered phones, it said.