Nearly 6 billion mobile apps will be downloaded globally this year, up from an estimated 2.4 billion in 2009, according to ABI Research. Not surprisingly, more than half of these will be for the iPhone OS. “The iPhone will co

ntinue to be the leading app platform, with a database of over 125,000 applications offering niche and localized content,” said ABI wireless research associate Bhavya Khanna. “Other platforms are still playing catch-up, with Android being the fastest gainer among them. ABI Research expects that with over 30,000 applications now available, over 800 million Android applications will be downloaded in 2010.”

ABI expects the global volume to peak in 2013, reaching 7 billion downloads.

While total downloads will grow, revenues will decline by 2012, the effect of market forces continuing to drive prices lower, as happened last week when Wolfram Alpha dropped the price of its knowledge engine, released as an app in October, from $49.99 to $1.99, with a refund for those who paid the initial price.

In addition to falling costs, ABI predicts that more “must have” apps will be available in free or ad-supported versions, as well as provided in handset bundles.

“As competition heats up, app makers are both dropping prices and ‘going free’ to stay on top of the download charts,” said ABI Vice President of Forecasting, Jake Saunders.

In March, the Yankee Group predicted that U.S. mobile app revenue would reach $11 billion by 2014. The group predicts that 2010 mobile app revenue will reach $1.6 billion in 2010, more than three times 2009’s $537 million. According to ComScore, 27.5 percent of U.S. mobile users used downloaded apps in Feb 2010, up from 25.7 percent in Novermber 2009.

(Image: Sigakalos' flickr)

By Mark Alvarez