Mobile app downloads increase by 11% in Q1

Mobile app downloads increaseWhat’s the app economy look at the start of 2013? According to a Q1 report from analyst firm Canalys, downloads are up, markets are growing in new locations and Google and Apple are still on top.

The report looked at the app stores for Google, Apple, Windows Phone and BlackBerry in more than 50 countries. Overall, 13.4 billion apps were downloaded in the past three months, an 11% increase over the end of 2012.

If you’re an app developer or tester, where should you be focusing your mobile efforts? Here’s a breakdown:

  • Some of the strongest growth was seen in emerging markets, such as South Africa, Brazil and Indonesia
  • App downloads in North America and Western Europe increased -  6% and 10% respectively
  • Google Play saw the most downloads – accounting for 51% of downloads from the four major stores

Though Google and Apple still dominate the app market, Tim Shepherd, Canalys Senior Analyst, believes Windows Phone and Blackberry are still in the game. They need a fair bit fo work to steal away market share, though, Tim cautioned in the report.

BlackBerry 10 now has more than 100,000 apps available through its storefront, showing good growth from the 70,000 it boasted at launch, and the new devices on the platform have given BlackBerry a much greater chance to compete for consumer attention. Its app story is going from strength to strength, but there is no room for complacency. Microsoft, with the help of partners such as Nokia, is also making good progress attracting some important titles to the Windows Phone platform, but it too needs to do more to make building apps for its platform a priority for developers and also do a better job of marketing and communicating the already established strength of its app story.

So if you want to be in the midst of the mobile testing needs, focus your time in Android and iOS testing. Don’t forsake Windows Phone or Blackberry though, if those OSes continue to grow testers are going to be in high demand, especially since they’ll be less common.

If you’re a tester in emerging markets like South Africa, Brazil or Indonesia, invest in your mobile collection and brush up on your testing skills, the mobile app ecosystems in those areas are taking off, which means testers will be busy.

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