iPhone app downloads top 1.5 billion

US vendor Apple said Tuesday that iPhone users have racked up more than 1.5 billion application downloads in just one year.

The fruit flavoured firm said that its App Store now boasts more than 65,000 apps available to consumers in 77 countries and more than 100,000 developers in the iPhone Developer Program.

The success of Apple’s app store model has prompted many of the firm’s rivals to imitate its strategy, with the firm now offering a direct channel for application developers to target over 40 million iPhone and iPod Touch devices.

“The App Store is like nothing the industry has ever seen before in both scale and quality,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “With 1.5 billion apps downloaded, it is going to be very hard for others to catch up.”

Not to be outdone however, GetJar, which was running a mobile app store when Apple’s was just a twinkle in Steve Jobs’ eye, announced that it has reached the 500 million download mark.

The announcement perhaps demonstrates the marketing power Apple has at its disposal, but also shows how the launch of the iPhone App Store has raised awareness about apps in general.

GetJar hosts nearly 50,000 mobile applications available in more than 200 different countries, and shed some light on what’s hot in the app space at present.

The company has facilitated nearly 17 million downloads of the Opera Mini web browser; over 16 million downloads of eBuddy instant messaging; 14 million downloads of Nimbuzz mobile messaging; 10 million downloads of mig33 mobile community; and over 5 million downloads of Google Maps for mobile.

And while mobile advertising has so far proven something of a slow burn, in 2009 the industry’s hottest talking point has been application stores and how mobile advertising may take a technological leap, in terms of user interaction.

The large screens, touch interfaces and advanced functionalities such as accelerometers that are now found on top tier smartphones have certainly captured the imagination of the industry. A small section of the global user base has also proven itself to be enthusiastic for these developments and this has led to suggestions that the future of mobile advertising must be bound inextricably with the future of the application model of mobile internet usage. Advertising will do better, runs the theory, when it appears within applications rather than simple on web pages.

Check out our feature on in-application advertising

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