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Smartphone manufacturers need to accommodate seven core smartphone applications, the “big seven,” in their next-generation handset designs, according to analysts from In-Stat. These big seven applications include email, games, social networking, instant messaging, mapping & directions, music & radio, and weather.

“In-Stat tracks 26 different categories of smartphone applications. A designer can optimize a handset for any one of the application categories. However, it's the big seven applications that phone designers need to accommodate in each and every device," said Frank Dickson, vice president of research at In-Stat.

The three applications that have the highest compound annual growth rates through 2014 are micro blogging, mobile banking and VoIP. The number of Android apps downloaded is growing at the fastest rate; however, Apple applications still dominate both free and paid downloads.  2012 witnesses the last of the Palm OS application downloads.

The tsunami of mobile applications has created a hyper-competitive market putting significant pressure on prices and margins. Productivity applications such as mapping, business and enterprise applications and phone tools & utilities generate 59% of all smartphone application revenue. Combined, the big seven will account for 7 billion downloads worldwide in 2014.

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