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iPhone and iTouch app downloads levels are expected to be 28 times higher during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, compared with last year, according to a survey by PlayHaven and Mobclix.

“The week between Christmas and New Year’s has become the great ‘Game Rush’ for iPhone games – essentially what Black Friday is to brick and mortar retailers,” said Raymond Lau, co-founder and CEO of PlayHaven. “This soaring increase in iPhone game downloads is even more spectacular when you consider the slow holiday sales this year for console game titles.”

iTouch Comes into? Own

A separate research analysis by Flurry found that the device currently leading the charge for app dowloading is actually the iTouch – not the ubiquitous iPhone,? reports MarketingVOX.

Flurry evaluated download growth driven by Christmas across the leading Apple and Android devices, as well as their respective app stores, pulling a sample that represents approximately 10% of all download volume in the App Store and Android Market. It found that out of the estimated 58 million iPhone and iPod Touch devices in the market at the time, roughly 40% of those, or 24 million, were iPod Touch devices.

Flurry suggests that an influx of new iPod Touch devices flooded the market at Christmas, and that users of the handset, primarily pre-teen and teen audiences, are voracious downloaders, the company stated in a blog post.

iPod Touch Passes iPhone

App downloads on iPod Touch soared past iPhone for the first time, eclipsing iPhone downloads by 172%. Moreover, iPod Touch 3G downloads increased by more than 900% on Christmas day, compared with the average of all previous Fridays in December.

flurry-ipod-touch-vs-iphone-download-volume-december-2009.jpg

Flurry was surprised at its own findings. A month ago, November had set previous download volume records, growing by 15% over October. Toward the end of November, it forecasted that December download volumes in the App Store would exceed November by more than 20%. As it turned out, Flurry underestimated growth by more than half : App Store download growth increased by more than 50% in December vs. November.

App Store Still Dwarfs Android

The flurry analysis found that though App Store download volume is currently more than 13 times greater than for the Android market. However, Android devices showed strong growth during the holiday season, led by the Motorola Droid:

  • Droid application downloads increased by 93% over previous Fridays in December.
  • Droid accounted for 48% of download volume across the leading Android handsets (Droid, myTouch 3G, G1 and HTC Hero).
  • App Store download volume is more than 13 times greater than Android Market.

Outside the Ecosystem

Though the App Store currently dominates the iPhone/iTouch universe, however, it may not last indefinitely. The PlayHaven research estimates that the coming year, games and applications will increasingly originate from other sources outside the ecosystem. By the end of 2010, up to 25% of games and apps may originate at an outside location.

A recent “top 10” list released by The Nielsen Company revealed that Apple’s iPhone was the most popular mobile device in the US during the first three quarters of 2009.

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