Sales for mobile application stores operated by Apple, Google, Research In Motion and Nokia will hit $3.8 billion this year, a 77 percent jump from $2.1 billion in 2010, said researcher IHS Screen Digest.
Mirroring and leading that revenue growth is Apple's App Store. Thanks to 10.3 billion app downloads on its iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices, IHS expects Apple to rack up revenue of $2.91 billion, up 63.4 percent from $1.78 billion in 2010 and good for a 76 percent market share for 2011.
Apple also will lead the market for in-application purchases, which includes purchases made within a paid application, such as game bonus levels or other tools to help players compete in mobile games.
The rise of Google's Android Market will help curb the App Stores' app market share to 60 percent by 2014. Android currently leads Apple and RIM in the U.S. smartphone market, according to Nielsen.
Android Market will grow 295.4 percent in 2011 to $425.36 million on 5.8 billion downloads to overtake RIM's BlackBerry App World as the second largest application store.
Despite 69.2 percent growth in 2011, BlackBerry App World will finish 2011 with revenue of $279.11 million and see only 772.2 million downloads.
Nokia Ovi Store, staggered a bit by the Finnish phone maker's inner turmoil and mobile phone innovation dearth, will see $201.48 million in sales on 1.1 billion downloads from Symbian smartphone users.
Microsoft's Windows Marketplace could gain enough size and presence in the future to shake up the market, though it is not yet a factor. Microsoft has partnered with Nokia, which is making Windows Phones to sell in 2012.
Overall, the market looks bright and sunny, said HIS mobile media analyst Jack Kent, who expects download revenue from games and other apps to hit $5.6 billion in 2012, $6.9 billion in 2013 and $8.3 billion in 2014.
"With consumers continuing to show robust, unflagging interest in downloading games and other applications to devices like smartphones and tablets, collective revenues from the four stores will climb sharply this year," Kent said.