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iPhone app ecosystem bigger than Facebook's app space

Last week at GDC, I joked that I really only heard about two things every day: Facebook and the iPhone. Of course, that's because I was mostly there to cover iPhone gaming (and certainly there were plenty of traditional game developers in the house), but those two platforms are definitely the hottest new frontier in gaming this year. Facebook offers a gigantic user base, and the iPhone offers unprecedented access (just $100 and a Mac), as well as a ready-made market place.

But a new report says that there's a clear winner here: the App Store. The Flurry Smartphone Industry Pulse report says that both platforms are growing, but that the iPhone is growing faster, and they cite the App Store's "monetization possibilities" for the reason that Apple's store is now carrying twice as many applications as the Facebook platform. Facebook actually has more users (not surprising, considering it's been around longer and it's free, while you have to buy an iPhone to use its apps), but the iPhone has more developers and more apps available for sale.

The report also looks at "iPhone developer DNA" -- where iPhone developers are coming from -- and it actually seems like iPhone devs are starting out from a good mix of places. Some iPhone developers have traditional development backgrounds, but up to 20% of the developer base is composed of individuals with no past experience. The iPad will probably be a big driver in application development going forward as well. Since its announcement, Flurry believes that the number of "in development" iPhone OS projects started per month has gone up 185%. The App Store is already one of the biggest platforms of the past few years, and it's only going to grow bigger.

[via GigaOm]

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