Still, the big three will see competition from third-party providers, such as Amazon and Facebook, according to Shen. "Amazon has appealed to users with its strong brand, global presence, and a good selection of high-quality content, while Facebook's recently launched App Center -- supporting both mobile devices and desktops -- will become a powerful competitor due to its strong brand and leading position in social networking and gaming," she said. "In China, there is a boom market of independent Android stores, due to the lack of presence of Google Play and 'weak' stores from [communication service providers]."
Gartner predicts more than 73 billion mobile applications will be downloaded worldwide in 2013, 90 percent of which will be free. The total number of downloads will increase to over 119.8 billion in 2014, 188.9 billion in 2015, and nearly 287.9 billion in 2016; the percentage of freebies will increase each year by one percent.
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