Big in 2010 – 1 The proliferation of phone apps

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Guardian iphone app.jpgIf 2009 was the year of Twitter then 2010 will be the year that mobile phone apps go mainstream. Obviously iPhone users have been downloading apps for many months now, but as we enter the New Year the quality of those apps is reaching new heights.

Next year will see other manufacturers and mobile phone networks offering apps. In addition to the iPhone there will be a surge of apps for both the Google Android platform and for a revamped Nokia Ovi one. Other manufacturers, like Samsung , have announced their own app platform and networks like Vodafone are hoping to offer unique apps to their subscribers.

We are also about to see a wave of media companies wading into the space too. The Guardian debuted its app recently and the Daily Mail apparently has a dozen or so apps lined up for next year.

It will also be cheaper and easier to make apps. Prices have been tumbling for a while now and there are now even DIY app sites starting to emerge.

Next year though the agenda will be less about the iPhone and more about apps that target a range of smartphones. Analysts are predicting a 10% rise in Smartphone penetration for next year, but it will probably be 2011/2012 when the market really matures and apps are central not just the top-end phones to but to all mobile users.

The problem app makers will face will be touting their apps. It will soon be very crowded market – in the same way that Facebook apps were a few years back – and companies will have to work hard on strategies to promote their apps. The days of just creating an app and putting it on iTunes and hoping for thousand of downloads will be gone for good.

Ashley Norris