ABI: Android to drive 58% of smartphone app downloads in 2013

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Consumers across the globe are on pace to download 56 billion smartphone applications in 2013, up from 32 billion a year ago, ABI Research forecasts.

Smartphones running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android will fuel 58 percent of all downloads this year, ABI reports. Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone follows with 33 percent of downloads, trailed by Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone at 4 percent and BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) at 3 percent.

It's a different story in the tablet segment, where Apple's iPad is projected to drive 75 percent of all 14 billion tablet app downloads in 2013. Android tablets will account for 17 percent, excluding Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle Fire (which runs a forked version of Android), which will generate 4 percent of downloads. Windows-based tablets are next at 2 percent.

While ABI anticipates a growing number of smartphone-focused application developers will embrace an Android-first strategy with the year, Senior Analyst Aapo Markkanen says "Arguably the most pressing issue for Google is how much of this handset momentum will ultimately trickle down to tablets, where Apple is holding the fort remarkably well. We would argue that in this context Google will actually benefit from the efforts by Amazon, since the presence of Kindle Fire adds a lot of critical 'code mass' to Android's proposition as a platform for tablet applications. It is worth remembering that Android's so-called fragmentation problem isn't only a problem, but that it has a certain upside as well."

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