Yankee didn't count revenues for applications sold to iPod Touch users, because the media player is not considered a smartphone.
Free applications dominate the number of downloads from application stores, but those free apps often entice buyers to move up to a deluxe version for a fee. In that sense, application marketers are using the free apps to help generate revenue. The majority of paid apps cost 99 cents to $2.99, with fewer in the higher-priced range of $4.99 to $9.99. The most that consumers, in general, are willing to spend on an application is below $3, Howe said.
While it might be advantageous for a game developer to find platforms other than the iPhone to build a gaming app, it won't be easy. All the smartphone application stores and platforms are "very different environments to work for, including everything from how they split revenue, the development language used, what marketing support you get and even how much investor support will be offered," Howe said.
In addition, Howe said, it's not easy for a small developer shop that has spent years building applications in the Java programming language to suddenly convert to building iPhone apps, which often requires developing in Objective-C. "You pretty much have to start afresh," he said.
Android and BlackBerry often rely on Java developers, while Palm Inc. offers its WebOS mobile operating system, which is Web centric, a factor that could help Palm gain more smartphone applications because there are so many Web developers, Howe said.
"Since the WebOS is Webcentric, that will help Palm with its app supply," Howe added. "The number of C++ developers is probably half a million, while there are millions of Web developers, some of whom could build smartphone apps. It's hard to walk down the hall of a high school without knocking over a few Web developers who have used html."
In the U.S., Howe estimated there are 1 million to 3 million software developers who could potentially write smartphone apps in coming years.