February 23, 2011: Apps

Today it seems there’san app for anything and everything. New numbers just out from Gartner (a technology research firm) andreported by MediaPostproject downloads from the various app stores will more than double in 2011 to nearly 18 billion. Amazingly, the number of total downloads is expected to skyrocket to 185 billion by 2014. That doesn’t sound farfetched when you consider that last month Apple surpassed 10 billion, yes billion,downloads for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

Among the beneficiaries of all this (aside from the tech companies) are the apps developers, many of whom are entrepreneurs. Last year app sales were $5.2 billion. This year, they’re expected to top $15 billion.

And while Apple is the king of the hill now, the competition for apps is heating up, as all the other big players like Google, HP, Microsoft, Research in Motion (Blackberry) and Samsung are clamoring for apps for their products.

Since most apps are free (81 percent in 2011), you might wonder how you can make money from an app. But Gartner reports that the number of free apps is dropping, and advertising will be generating a bigger share of revenue.

For now, the pay model gives 30 percent of the sale to the developers, though that is starting to change. Forrester, another research firm, says there are many new business models on the horizon, including subscriptions, microtransactions and in-app billing, so entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to make even more money.