Forecast: Mobile app revenues to reach $27B in 2013, dominated by iOS

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The worldwide mobile application market--including premium downloads, subscriptions, in-app purchases and in-app advertising--is projected to reach a value of $27 billion in 2013, according to a new ABI Research forecast.

Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS on pace to generate more than two-thirds of total smartphone and tablet app revenues this year, the firm said. "Although Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android OS recently surpassed Apple in terms of total app numbers, iOS users continue to prove they're more willing to part with their cash," said ABI Senior Analyst Josh Flood. "The revenue gap between the two leading OSes looks unlikely to close over the next 18 months." Both Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone and BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) continue to lag far behind iOS and Android in the race to establish a third mobile app ecosystem, ABI adds.

While mobile app revenues derived from smartphones continue to dwarf revenues generated on tablets, ABI anticipates tablet revenues will outstrip smartphones by 2017. The firm credits larger screen sizes and corresponding gaming and reading improvements as the drivers behind the expected tablet revenue surge.

Earlier this month, Apple announced it has paid more than $10 billion to its third-party iOS developer partners. "To put that into perspective, that's three times more than all other platforms combined," Apple CEO Tim Cook noted during the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, adding that half of that $10 billion figure has been paid out during the past year.

Cook said Apple's App Store now counts a total of 900,000 apps, including 375,000 apps for the iPad tablet. Consumers have downloaded more than 50 billion iOS apps since the App Store opened for business close to five years ago.

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