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Stand back. There's no telling how big this iPad thing can get. A new report from Juniper Research (http://www.juniperresearch.com) finds that annual revenues from consumer mobile applications will approach US$52 billion by 2016 as consumer smartphone adoption accelerates in tandem with the emergence of a mass tablet market.
While smartphones will continue to comprise the majority of app revenues over the forecast period, the report noted that tablets -- which currently account for just 7% of global app revenues -- would comprise 25% of such revenues by 2016. And the iPad is far and away the top dog in the tablet market.
Juniper's report observed that the app store model’s pre-eminence faced the prospect of erosion in the longer term as HTML5 -- a markup language which reduces end-user dependence on plug-in app technologies -- facilitates the transition to a browser-based environment. Additionally, the closer integration between web-based apps and handsets should mean that the advantage that native apps have is reduced.
This in turn offers great opportunities for content publishers to offer content on-site rather than be reliant on storefront distribution. Nevertheless, as report author Dr Windsor Holden noted, "While we are likely to see some larger media publishers – particularly those dependent on subscription revenues -- migrating to a direct-to-consumer model (D2C), this is by no means true for the majority of companies. Most do not possess the scale of traffic to make D2C a viable option: in most cases, the storefront will continue to be the optimal discovery and distribution mechanism."
Other findings from the report include:
° Most network operator storefronts will struggle to attract developers due to lack of scale
° More than 31 billion apps were downloaded to mobile devices in 2011.
-- Dennis Sellers