News and entertainment smartphone applications are downloaded the most, but mobile productivity applications generate the most revenue.
In fact, productivity applications such as mapping, business and enterprise applications and phone tools and utilities generate 59% of all smartphone application revenue, according to market researcher In-Stat.
Looking at the worldwide market for smartphone applications, In-Stat found that games, music and video lead the pack in terms of applications downloads. While VoIP was the highest 2010 growth segment, social networking, messaging applications, e-mail apps continue to dominate the category in terms of total downloads, says In-Stat.
From a platform perspective, the number of Android OS apps downloaded is growing at the fastest rate, although Apple applications still dominate both free and paid downloads. The days may be numbered for Palm OS applications, however, with the last ones expected to zip across cyberspace in 2012, notes In-Stat analysts.
"The competitiveness of the smartphone app market will intensify over the next few years as developer ecosystems become more competitive with Apple's app store" points out Frank Dickson, an In-Stat analyst.
Right now, there are eight notable smartphone operating environments, and the number is more likely to grow rather than shrink. Google will exploit its Internet dominance, he says, while Apple will leverage its development community and stable platform. As for Microsoft, all of its future bets are on Windows Mobile 7.