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By the numbers: Mobile apps in 2011

By the end of this year, there were almost 30 billion cumulative app downloads worldwide from the major mobile platforms.
GigaOM | 01.01.2012
It wasn’t just here in the U.S. and it wasn’t just iPhone users; the app obsession has gone global and is now bigger than ever. We’ve already taken a look back at the big themes of app development in 2011. But here’s a look at some of the most interesting statistics involving the abundance of mobile apps we devoured this year:

We love our apps. By the end of this year, we hit almost 30 billion cumulative app downloads worldwide from the major mobile platforms. As of December, Apple passed the 18 billion mark and Android hit 10 billion. RIM passed 1 billion earlier this year.

iPhone and iPad users like free apps and like to spend money in them. The largest chunk of all revenue derived from iOS apps – just under half – comes from free apps that you make purchases from.

Android users are all about fun and game. Nine of the top 10 highest-grossing Android apps are games. (The only non-game is DocumentstoGo).

BlackBerry owners, on the other hand, need to loosen up a little. Not one of the top five most popular free or top five paid app downloads from BlackBerry AppWorld is a game, which is a significant outlier from the other top mobile platforms.

We saw the biggest one-day app download total ever this year. On Christmas Day, naturally, as people were presumably unwrapping their new phones and tablets, there were 242 million iOS and Android downloads.

Angry Birds were still everywhere on app stores, but this was the year of the photo app. Both of the apps named by Apple as the best App Store offerings of the year for iPhone and iPad respectively were photo-related: Instagram (which has Apple to thank for much of its success) and Snapseed.

We’re comfortable buying apps from third parties. Curated, third-party app stores made their presence felt this year: Amazon opened its limited Appstore of Android apps for its Kindle products, and GetJar had more than 350,000 apps available for all major platforms, saw more than 2 billion downloads total — and it grabbed some impressive exclusives.

You can have a ton of cool apps from big brands and still not dent consumers’ consciousness. Microsoft managed to get 10,000 Windows Phone 7 apps added to its store in the space of 40 days to bring the total to over 50,000. That’s pretty good momentum, and while those added include major brand names in apps, WP7 still has a long way to grab smartphone buyers’ attention.
About the author: GigaOM