No end to pursuit of appiness for Australians

Danielle Wakerman

PASS the iPhone – Australia’s addiction to mobile applications is so huge we need a calculator app to do the maths.

Latest figures show we have downloaded an astonishing one billion apps since they became available four years ago, including more than 700 million on iPhones, 64 million on iPads and more than 230 million on Android devices.

In March alone Aussies downloaded about 66 million apps – making us fifth in the world for the number of apps downloaded per person, behind only Korea, Sweden, the UK and Denmark.

Games and gadgets have traditionally been the top sellers, but the explosion in demand has prompted hundreds of local companies, organisations and developers to produce their own tailor-made apps.

Josh Guest, managing director of Australian app developer b2cloud, yesterday said a high-tech industry worth tens of millions of dollars to the local economy was emerging to meet burgeoning demand.

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“More than half of all Australians now have a smartphone and businesses are realising it is a way to connect with those people – they are literally in their customers’ pockets.”

Companies pay anything from $30,000 to more than $1 million to develop an app. And while most cost less than $2 to download, they can be enormous money-spinners.

Angry Birds, one of the most popular titles ever, has been downloaded more than a billion times.

Its parent company, Rovio, reportedly turned down an offer last year for a buyout worth $2.25 billion.

But not all apps are designed to make money. Alzheimer’s Australia launched its BrainyApp last November and it has since been downloaded almost 200,000 times.

“We know that most Australians are not aware of what they can do to reduce their risk of developing dementia,” spokeswoman Suha Ali said.

“The app provides a wealth of scientific knowledge in a readily accessible manner.”

Sydney copywriter Danielle Wakerman is among the millions of Aussies who now turn to their mobile device apps daily to while away the hours on public transport, take photos, log on to social networks and find information.

“Whenever someone tells me about something new I’ll just add that app to the pile,” she said.

“They just make my life easier.”

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