Last August, the Windows Phone Marketplace reached a milestone of 30,000 available apps , and now that number seems to have reached 50,000, just over a year since it was first launched in Europe in October 2010.
An independent Web site, All About Windows Phone, citing numbers from its own tracking system, reported on Dec. 27 that the Windows Phone Marketplace "has passed the 50,000 app and games submission mark. Content is being added at the rate of 265 items per day." With a few days left of December, the site said "50,126 items had been published, 17,276 of them added in the last 90 days and 8,010 added in the last 30 days.
The offerings are from 13,002 different publishers, and the pace has accelerated rapidly in recent months as Nokia launches its Windows devices and the platform reaches more countries.
But AAWP pointed out that, just as is the case in other markets, the actual number of Windows offerings is lower than the published figure, with just under 6,000 Windows apps removed by Microsoft or the publisher.
"The 50,000 mark, which has been reached sooner than we estimated, is a key milestone, but more important is the accelerating growth of the Marketplace," wrote AAWP's Rafe Blandford. "It took just over a year to get to 40,000 apps, but just 40 days to add the next 10,000 apps. That bodes well for Windows Phone in 2012."
The soaring mobile market, which includes smartphones, iPods and tablets, has created an app explosion. Earlier this month, Mobilewalla, a research firm specializing in the mobile marketplace, reported that 2,000 apps are posted each day, and in the past year Apple's iTunes App Store increased its offerings from 338,000 to 589,148, while Google's Android Market soared from 115,000 to 319,774. The point of 1 million apps may be near, the firm said.
Whether or not this benefits consumers is questionable since no user has the time or desire to shop through potentially thousands of offerings in a designated category while browsing.
'Robust App Community'
But Avi Greengart of Current Analysis said the Windows Phone 50,000 mark is "an extremely important milestone. Consumers are understandably reluctant to invest in a platform that does not have a robust app community, but 50,000 is a reassuringly large number, so this should definitely help sales."
Greengart added that "Windows Phone also provides an arguably better, more integrated approach to the most common smartphone tasks, and we are starting to see more innovative hardware appear for the platform." But he cautioned that "Windows Phone 7 remains far behind iOS and Android in terms of overall numbers, giving the market leaders an advantage in niche apps. Also, apps are consistently developed for iOS first, for Android second, and for Windows Phone 7...sometime later."
That makes the iPhone the "safest" choice for consumers who are driven primarily by app variety, the analyst said.