A three-fold increase over 2010
If a leading analyst group's predictions are correct, the year for mobile apps in 2011 will nearly triple from what we saw in 2010.
Gartner has issued a report saying it expects sales generated through mobile app stores to exceed $15 billion this year. That's compared to just $5.2 billion in 2010.
That number includes both direct purchases from mobile users and revenue generated from ad sales related to mobile apps.
"Application stores have become a highly visible and potentially lucrative part of the smartphone ecosystem, largely due to Apple's App Store," said Gartner analyst Stephanie Baghdassarian.
In addition to the iPhone, Android phone, Windows Phone 7 and Blackberry platforms, the wild increase in mobile content revenue will be spurred by the emergence of tablets this year.
Tablets are considered in the same group as mobile phones because they run the same kind of operating system, so software works across both ranges of devices.
Between Android and the iPhone, there are nearly a half a million apps available. That's pretty impressive considering that three years ago, that number was 0.
Clearly, 2011 is going to be a year all about mobile. In addition to the introduction of the Verizon iPhone, 4G is going to spread all across the industry this year and sophisticated mobile gaming is expected to make a big entrance.
Even though Android is starting to become the most popular smartphone platform in the US, Gartner expects Apple's App Store to remain the strongest money earner until at least 2014.