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Tuesday, April 21, 2009, 03:25 pm PT (06:25 pm ET)

End users, developers seen flocking to iPhone apps on wide scale

A mobile analytics firm has published new findings which show the iPhone taking the majority of the app market — especially when it comes to the sheer number of users.

Examining 8 million users and 100 apps, researchers at Flurry hint that Apple's handset has a conspicuous market share lead among developers, the number of apps and the actual range of customers for those apps.

The study, provided to ReadWriteWeb, reveals that 72 percent of the developers being tracked by Flurry are writing for iPhones, while Google's Android is a comparatively distant second at 22 percent. JavaME and BlackBerry had far smaller shares at 5 percent and 1 percent each, though Flurry's marketing VP Peter Farago explains the BlackBerry's weakness as the product of too few BlackBerry developers on its network at the time of the report. He notes that the absence of the smartphone may have its own implications for the interest, or lack of it, in apps for the platform.

"Why haven't [more] BlackBerry developers signed up for analytics?" he asks.

The gap appears less severe in the actual number of apps produced, with the iPhone garnering 64 percent of business where Android and JavaME each have 16 percent, but quickly widens once real-world use is taken into consideration. There, a massive 87 percent of all users are running iPhone apps — a clear lead that gives Android and JavaME just 6 percent and 7 percent, respectively, of what's left. Blackberries don't register on the chart.

Flurry on iPhone share April 2009

Relative share of the mobile app space in Flurry's metrics. | Image credits: Flurry.


Usage itself is also on the rise, supporting the notion that many of the downloads aren't simply being neglected. While apps have traditionally been orphans, as only 10 percent of smartphone owners have actually used third-party software, Flurry believes many more are now actively running software. Of those apps launched daily, some are invoked as many as 20 times a day.

While the statistics for share and day-to-day use don't reflect the full market as Symbian and Windows Mobile aren't included in the results, they're given as an indicator of the strong interest in Apple's platform versus others — an effort which will garner more public attention as Apple marks its 1 billionth app download later this week.