Angry Birds, Groupon and YouTube have been named among the big winners at the Appys 2012 – an awards ceremony that serves to illustrate the rise and rise of mobile phone apps in the UK over the last four years.

Organised by Carphone Warehouse, the Appys attract more than 115,000 public votes, and last night’s celebrity-packed ceremony was hosted by Dermot O’Leary in central London.

Those celebrating grabbing recognition included Google Maps, Facebook and Dominos Pizza for best apps in travel, social/messaging and food/cooking.

Groupon scooped “Best Money Saving app” while  Angry Birds bagged the “Best Game” gong.

Additional winners on the night were YouTube (Best Celebrity and Entertainment and also Best Music), BBC News (Best News and Weather), Adobe Photoshop Express (Best Photography and Video), eBay (Best Fashion and Shopping), Sky Sports News (Best Sport and also App of the Year) and NHS Direct (Best Health and Wellbeing).

Andrew Harrison, CEO of Carphone Warehouse, said: “It’s estimated that in 2012, mobile users will download nearly 36 billion apps. It’s great to see apps across all 12 categories getting the recognition they deserve.”

It’s hard to believe that it is less than four years since apps first entered the public domain with the launch of the iPhone 3G in July 2008

Since then Apple has topped more than 25 billion downloads for its iOS software running on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

At the end of last year, Google officially announced it had passed 10 billion Android downloads and predicted growth of one billion per month during 2012.

The growth of smartphones including BlackBerry and Windows Phone means Britain, along with much of Europe and America, is a nation addicted to apps.

According to market research company Strategy Analytics, UK mobile owners are expected to spend nearly £560 million on apps in 2012 – this would represent a bigger chunk of mobile consumer spending in Britain compared to the global average.

Stuart Dredge, mobile industry expert and writer, said: “Once upon a time we personalised our phones with ringtones and wallpapers. Now we do it with apps.

“A person’s iPhone or Android homescreen is a good reflection of their personality. We’ve gone from the Crazy Frog era to the Angry Birds era but thankfully the latter haven’t made a record. Not yet, at least.”

He added: “Apps are at the heart of a lot of the disruption going on in the media and entertainment industries and are one of the key reasons people pay for subscription services like Spotify for music and Netflix for TV and films.

“They’re also providing a new digital revenue stream for newspapers and magazines, are at the forefront of new freemium business models for games and they are reinventing children’s books as a blend of text, animation and gaming.”

But while smartphones continue to dominate app downloads, tablets devices such as the iPad and its many Android rivals look set for a huge increase in popularity.

According to ABI Research much of this boost will come from children and pensioners, using tablets rather than computers thanks to their large and easy-to-understand touchscreens.

Analyst Mark Beccue said: “The magic of media tablets for senior citizens and children is the touch screen interface. It’s so intuitive. These demographic groups will rely heavily on downloaded apps over web surfing on their media tablets.”

However, the rapid growth of apps has also led to concerns relating to mobile phone security and privacy.

Justin Basini, CEO of privacy company ALLOW, said: “There’s no doubting that apps are handy and they are fast becoming integral to many people’s lives.

“However, what users may not realise is that app developers crave their personal data because it is extremely valuable for marketing purposes.

“Before you download an app it’s worth considering what personal data the developer might collect and what it is used for.”

Creating a successful app though, such as the ones who have won at The Appys, is still not a simple science.

Mr Dredge added: “It’s easy to make an app, but it’s much harder to make meaningful money from it. With more than 600,000 on iOS alone, it’s a ferociously competitive space.”

One app that is doing well though is the massively popular Draw Something.

It was announced yesterday that it currently remains at the top of the Apple iOS charts for the sixth week running.

Draw Something was the top paid for both the iPhone and iPad and second in the free iPhone apps list. On Android store Google Play it is the No1 paid-for app too.

Source : Yahoo

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