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Photo credit FlickR/philcampbell

Last year was the best year yet for mobile and tablet apps, now key players in the digital world. If Angry Birds, Instagram and Facebook remain among the most downloaded apps of the year, rising stars also earned coveted spots on smartphones and tablets in 2012.

In a statement on January 7, Apple announced that, of the 40 billion app downloads in its App Store since 2008, half of them took place in 2012. December 2012 alone was a record-breaking month, with 2 billion app downloads.

There are now 500 million active App Store accounts and the “developer community has created over 775,000 apps for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users worldwide.” The developers have been paid over seven billion dollars by Apple, the statement said.

Meanwhile, Google Play, Android’s application distribution platform, reached 25 billion downloads in September 2012 with 700.000 apps in store in October. This figure is expected to reach one million in June 2013.

In 2012 consumers spent on average two hours each day using mobile applications, an increase of 35 percent over the previous year, according to analytics firm Flurry. The number is expected to continue growing in 2013.

“2012 was a transformative tipping point in the way consumers use apps,” said Craig Palli, a vice president at mobile marketing company Fiksu, adding that the biggest shift is in consumers’ eagerness to turn to apps for a broad range of day-to-day tasks.

Consumer behavior is changing to explore territories such as mobile payment, which would have left many ill-at-ease a few years ago. Payment apps such as Square, and Apple’s introduction of the Passbook has further positioned the smartphone as a digital wallet.

Last year, during major events such as the Olympics, Hurricane Sandy and the US presidential election, the top apps on the App Store reflected those events, said Palli, showing the demand for keeping up with current events through apps.

(With Reuters)

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