In the last three months, roughly a billion apps were downloaded from Apple’s software store for its smartphones and handhelds, bringing the total to over three billion since this store launched last year.
“Three billion applications downloaded in less than 18 months — this is like nothing we’ve ever seen before,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO.
A Brief History of the iPhone App Store
When the original iPhone was announced in early 2007, Apple said it would not allow other companies to release native software for this smartphone. Instead, they could only make Web apps that ran in the browser.
For the entire first year this device was on the market, native third-party applications were blocked. This lead to a significant percentage of devices being “jail-broken” — modified to remove this restriction.
Only tremendous demand from users forced Apple to change course, and the App Store debuted with the launch of the second-generation iPhone.
Lots of Competition
When Apple introduced its software store, the idea of an on-device application store was hardly a new one — companies like Handango have offered them for years –but the early ones met with limited success. The popularity of the iPhone version has breathed new life into this concept, and virtually all of Apple’s competitors are seeking to imitate this accomplishment.
Both Google’s Android OS and Palm’s webOS debuted with a software store part of their basic feature set, RIM has launched the BlackBerry App World, while Nokia has the Ovi Store. In addition, Microsoft introduced an application store for Windows Mobile devices this fall.
Still, none of these have been able to match the App Store. In second place is the Android Market, which is closing in on 20,000 apps.