Year in Review 2011: The stories that shaped mobile app development

editor's corner

Jason Ankeny

The end of another year is fast approaching, bringing an extended holiday break for many. Mobile developers have definitely earned time for rest and relaxation: An average of 2,000 new applications enter the market every day according to search, discovery and analytics engine Mobilewalla, which adds that the number of individual apps available in the marketplace eclipsed the 1 million milestone earlier this month.

Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS leads the way with more than 590,000 applications in the App Store, up from 338,000 a year ago and translating to roughly 59.9 percent of the total app marketplace, Mobilewalla reports. Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android is next at about 320,000 apps, increasing from 115,000 12 months earlier to capture 32.5 percent of the market. Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry is a distant third with about 43,500 apps, making up just 4.42 percent of the market, and Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone brings up the rear at 35,000 apps, or 3.60 percent.

The Mobilewalla data shouldn't come as a big surprise to anyone who followed mobile app development trends in 2011--iOS and Android continue to dominate, especially with tablets like Apple's iPad and's Kindle Fire offering the opportunity to create bigger, better and more lucrative mobile experiences. The growth of tablet app development was just one of the major themes and trends that shaped the past year--another was a changing of the guard that witnessed Windows Phone surpass BlackBerry as the third major mobile OS, HTML5 eclipse Adobe Flash as the web runtime of choice and freemium apps beat out paid downloads and ad subsidies as the monetization model du jour. All of these factors will exert a profound influence on the next million apps to follow.  

In this special year-in-review issue, FierceDeveloper looks back at all the signature headlines and events that shaped the mobile software sector in 2011 and set the stage for the year ahead. Please note that we are on publishing hiatus until Tuesday, Jan. 3--be sure to visit our website in the event of breaking news between now and then. In the meantime, have a memorable and safe holiday season, and we'll see you back here in 2012.--Jason