About 800 apps were available when Apple launched its App Store in the summer of 2008. Four years later, the store stocks more than 500,000. Adding in the Android, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile markets, as many as 1.1 million apps are now available for smart phone users, according to tracking firm Mobilewalla.
The explosion poses a dilemma for users and developers alike: How can an app stand out from the crowd?
Palo Alto's Quixey and San Francisco's Chomp are among the latest tools to help people find the app that's right for them. They scour the apps ecosystem - not just the titles and keywords, but ratings, reviews and other sources - to pinpoint the most appropriate match.
It's a critical piece of the $30 billion apps market, according to Juniper Research. It estimates that mobile phone and tablet users worldwide downloaded 30 billion apps last year and that revenue for the apps business will increase from $30 billion in 2012 to close to $52 billion by 2016.
"You've gone from a situation where you had hundreds of apps to tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of apps," said Windsor Holden, research director for Juniper Research.
A separate report by Gartner, another research firm, predicts that by the end of 2014, mobile users worldwide will have downloaded more than 185 billion apps.
Mobilewalla, which also offers a search engine and its own apps ranking system, said that apps have multiplied in recent years, from 100,000 apps in December 2009 to 500,000 in January 2011. They crossed the 1 million threshold in December. More of the story at SF Gate by
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