Apple, Google and other makers of smartphone operating systems are expecting to rake in $3.8 billion this year in sales from downloadable games, organizational tools and other applications, according to research from IHS ISuppli.

Sales of apps from stores run by Apple, Google, Nokia Oyj and Research In Motion will rise 78% in 2011 from $2.1 billion last year. With those figures in mind, the app market is expected to be worth a total of $8.3 billion by 2014.

Content is king, and this is the age of apps. Which in turn, has finally led to our much anticipated year of mobile.

So what does this mean for marketers? Marketing in the digital age, and the year of mobile, is all about connectivity. In the short term, the changes affecting how people interact with digital content will ultimately inspire new devices.

And the best devices will be the ones that provide a great platform for all these apps that we are buying – the connected experience.

By the end of this year, total app downloads will reach 18.1 billion, according to ISuppli. That’s up from 9.5 billion last year and 3.1 billion in 2009.

And despite talk of many a device that will challenge Apple, the tech giant has long been dubbed as the pioneer of the app industry and it continues to increase its reign.

The Apple App Store now accounts for more than three-quarters of total app revenue and is expected to bring in $2.91 billion in revenue in 2011, up 63% from last year, spurred by the popularity of the new iPhone 4 and iPad 2.

In comparison, Google’s Android service will almost quadruple to $425.4 million, putting it on pace to be the second-biggest application store.

Furthermore, the surge in application sales is leading companies such as Time Warner, Walt Disney and News Corp to adapt their content for smartphones and tablet computers.

The app market also has spawned successful start-ups, including Rovio Mobile, made famous by its phenomenal smash hit “Angry Birds.”

App app and away indeed.

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