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By 9 February 2012 | Categories: news

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While smartphones’ and tablets’ popularity has enjoyed a meteoric rise in recent years, they have also spurred an equally impressive, if not exponential growth of apps.
 
A recent report has asserted that apps for tablets and smartphones have also been responsible for something else very positive as well, namely generating a significant amount of jobs and creating what is being termed the App Economy.
 
According to the report by TechNet, a network of chief executive officers and seniors executives that promote technology led innovation, the rapid rise of smartphones, tablets, and social media, and the applications—“apps”—that run on them, is “perhaps the biggest economic and technological phenomenon today”.
 
There’s an app for that
 
The technology network pointed out that almost a million apps have been created for the iPhone, iPad and Android alone, and even more significantly, on an economic level, each app represented jobs - for programmers, for user interface designers, for marketers, for managers and for support staff.  
 
The report elaborated that the key platforms in the App Economy today include Android, anchored by Google; Apple iOS, anchored by Apple; Blackberry, anchored by RIM; Facebook, anchored by Facebook; and Windows Phone and Windows Mobile, anchored by Microsoft.
 
TechNet pointed out that every major consumer-facing company, and many business-facing companies, have discovered that they need an app to be the public face of the business. The report further likened the App Economy to the construction sector of the 21st century, responsible for building a new front door to everyone’s ‘house’ (business) and in some cases constructing a whole new house – or means of being visible to the world - altogether.
 
 
Counting the benefit
 
TechNet continued that the App Economy lent itself to several types of metrics, explaining that it was  relatively easy to count the number of apps in a particular app store, how many different developers, and even how many times apps have been downloaded.
 
“For example, the Apple App store had 529 550 active apps as of December 12, 2011, according to 148apps.biz, uploaded by 124 475 active publishers,” it stated.
 
Another telling indication was revenue generated by apps themselves, with a current estimation being in the region of $20 billion last year alone. This though, includes app downloads, in-app revenues, sales of virtual goods, and sales of physical goods and services.
 
However, counting the exact number of jobs generated was more difficult, owing to the fact that a single app could be created by one self-employed person or by a team at a large company.
 
Employment, created
 
Part of this though included indepth analysis of want adds over a period of time, which references key words that were significant to app development positions.
 
TechNet extrapolated that 155 000 tech jobs in the App Economy had been created as of December 2011. “This number would include developer and tech support jobs at both dedicated app developers and at large companies who create apps for them or for others,” it elaborated.
 
Additionally, its research ultimately pointed towards a gross figure in the US of 466 000 jobs being created since the iPhone was launched in 2007. However, perhaps even more significantly, the report pointed out that jobs also had indirect ‘spillover’ effects on other industries, which rose to provide for a burgeoning app economy. TechNet concluded that every app economy job generates another 0.5 jobs in the rest of the economy.
 
To the point
 
While the specifics of how many jobs exactly and precisely which positions were experiencing greater demand due to the rise of apps may still be a bit vague, the conclusion is not: Apps – their development, adoption and growth – has become a force for economic growth in the technology industry, and could have an equally positive impact beyond it.   
 
In recent news, 90% of the US smartphone market was found to consist of Android and iOS devices.

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