We've been hearing for a while now that the smartphone industry has largely matured, with little room for the kind of double-digit growth we've been used to in past years.
So it's a bit of a surprise to hear news from Canalys that app downloads across the four main platforms in Q1 jumped 11% globally over the Christmas quarter.
Canalys' figures come from “more than 50 countries”, it says, and we assume that includes all the major ones, so its figures seem worth trusting.
Overall, the numbers reveal the smartphone-using public downloaded 13.4 billion iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry OS apps downloads in the three months ending in March, bringing in $2.2bn in direct and in-app revenues over the quarter (itself a 9% rise over Q4 2012).
One potential common-sense reason for the increase could be that the traditionally stronger sales over the Christmas period put more devices on the market downloading apps going into the New Year.
But the figures are also a reminder that the smartphone market may be maturing in the developed world, but elsewhere – Canalys mentions South Africa, Brazil and Indonesia as three examples – growth is still strong.
And even then, with North America and Western Europe both posting 8% increases in app downloads over the three months, maybe this maturing market stuff is all a bit exaggerated in the first place.
As for the platforms themselves, Google and Apple dominated the figures. In terms of revenues, iOS took in 74% of all the cash, while Android was top dog with 51% of downloads numbers.
So that much, at least, is no surprise at all.