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The annual volume of mobile – smartphone and app downloads will reach 70 billion this year, show ABI Research’s updated market forecasts. Google Android will continue to dominate smartphones, whereas Apple iOS will be the platform of choice for media tablets.

The annual volume of smartphone app downloads will reach 56 billion this year. Of different OS platforms for smartphones, Google’s Android will account for 58% of all downloads, with Apple’s iOS commanding an annual share of 33%. Microsoft’s Windows Phone will finish the year with a slice of slightly smaller than 4%, with BlackBerry trailing it with 3%.

In the meantime, mobile users will download around 14 billion tablet apps during the year. In the tablet segment, iPad’s lead as a development platform remains formidable, as 75% of the amount will be apps running on iOS. For comparison, Android will represent an annual share of 17%, excluding Kindle Fire. Downloads to Amazon’s tablets will warrant a market share of 4%, while around 2% of the total will be for Windows tablets.

With its vast installed base and the generally improved conditions for app building, ABI Research expects a growing number of smartphone-focused developers to adopt an Android-first strategy within the year.

“Arguably the most pressing issue for Google is how much of this handset momentum will ultimately trickle down to tablets, where Apple is holding the fort remarkably well. We would argue that in this context Google will actually benefit from the efforts by Amazon, since the presence of Kindle Fire adds a lot of critical ‘code mass’ to Android’s proposition as a platform for tablet applications. It is worth remembering that Android’s so-called fragmentation problem isn’t only a problem, but that it has a certain upside as well,” said Aapo Markkanen, a senior analyst for ABI.

Tags: Google, Apple, iOS, Android, iPhone, iPad, Samsung, Galaxy, Galaxy Tab, Microsoft, Windows Phone, Blackberry

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