Apple Still Dominates Smartphone Software Market With 2 Billion App Downloads

As Palm makes ever longer leaps and strides toward unseating the King of Smartphones in the hardware segment of the market by agreeing to let sell the Palm Pre for only $100 (with a 2-year Sprint contract), Apple continues to reign supreme in the software market, at least when it comes to smartphone apps, that is.

Just recently, the Apple iTunes App Store marked its 2 billionth download. The 1 billionth iPhone app download only happened just a few months earlier – on April 23, 2009 to be precise. Which lends to the question of whether a 3 billionth or even a 4 or 5 billionth iPhone app download will occur before the end of this year.

When an iPhone user notched that 1 billionth benchmark, Apple awarded him (or her) a whole bevy of free goodies from Apple. Will the 2 billionth downloader receive the same boon? The Apple press release on the achievement mentions nothing on the subject, so it’s doubtful. Maybe for the 1 billionth (with its two-week promotional campaign leading up to it) Apple thought it needed the extra push to get those apps downloaded.

But now that the iTunes App store seems, like the iPhone itself, to have a life of its own, perhaps Apple no longer sees the need to offer such incentives. If so, they’re probably right. With 85,000 apps and more than 125,000 members of Apple’s iPhone Developer Program serving over 50 million iPhone and iPod Touch users around the world there’s little marketing they can do at this point that will equal the chain reaction of word-of-mouth (or rather, word-of-text) that has already begun.

Analysts say that Microsoft and Symbian and even RIM are so heavily focused in the OS game – with, most notably in today’s news, 30 new smartphone devices slated to come out in the next year running WinMo 6.5 – that they’re lagging way behind Apple in terms of fun and useful applications to use on their smartphones. Even Google, probably the most likely to produce a similar breadth of apps for its Android OS, still has a lot of catching up to do.