Apples iPhone, iPad

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Apples iPhone, iPad

A conversation about the App Economy has to start with the devices that started it all, beginning with the iPhone in 2007 and the iPad in 2010. These products are still popular, with Apple selling 37 million iPhones and 15.4 million iPads last quarter alone. TechNet noted: "The incredibly rapid rise of smartphones, tablets, and social media, and the applications-"apps"-that run on them, is perhaps the biggest economic and technological phenomenon today."

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Apple App Store

How about that App Store? The devices are good, but their usefulness is limited without solid applications to run on them. Here's where Apple is king.

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Android Gadgets

As devices go, Android is the market leader for smartphones, commanding 50 percent market share worldwide, thanks to the 300-plus different models available on dozens of carriers' networks around the globe. Amazon's Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble's Nook are counted as successful Android tablets, with a nod to Samsung's Galaxy Tab family, pictured here. Samsung is the leading Android handset OEM and its Tab family sold some 10 million units, said Jefferies & Co.

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Android Market

The Android Market won't be mistaken for the App Store, but it's loaded with thousands of free apps to run on more than 200 million devices worldwide. One thing that really needs to change is that paucity of Android apps for tablets, which are reportedly only in the low hundreds.

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App Economy Formula

TechNet used the following multiplier formula to calculate that every app economy job generates another 0.5 jobs in the rest of the economy.

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App Economy

TechNet believes the App Economy accounts for some 466,000 jobs in the United States, an increase from 0 in 2007, when the iPhone was first introduced. This total includes jobs at app firms such as social gaming specialist Zynga, as well as app-related jobs at companies such as Electronic Arts, Amazon and AT&T. TechNet also counted app "infrastructure" jobs at Google, Apple and Facebook, all of which lean heavily on Web-based software and services.

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Metro Breakdown

TechNet also looked at App Economy Jobs by state. No surprise that San Francisco, home to Silicon Valley, led the way. San Fran was followed by New York, D.C. and Texas. Indeed, Austin has a burgeoning software scene.

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The research got more granular as TechNet broke down App Economy by metropolitan areas. The top 5 are New York, San Francisco (think Google, Facebook, Twitter and Zynga), San Jose, Seattle (hello, Microsoft) and Los Angeles.

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How big can the App Economy get? TechNet isn't sure: "That depends in many ways on the future of wireless and social networks. If wireless and social network platforms continue to grow, then we can expect the App Economy to grow along with them." However, growth is coming, thanks to the proliferation of devices and increasingly ubiquitous 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) and WiFi wireless technologies that will support and accelerate app demand.

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