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App market soars with 13.4 billion downloads in Q1 2013

The first quarter of 2013 saw an 11 percent increase in app downloads over all of 2012 combined. This means a total revenue of $2.2 billion.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

As people around the world become increasingly more reliant on their mobile devices, the app market continues to grow. New research from market analyst firm Canalys shows that the top four app stores hit 13.4 billion downloads worldwide in the first quarter of 2013. This is an 11 percent increase over all of 2012 combined.

"Apps have had a huge impact on the way consumers use mobile devices, what they value, and what they expect from smart phones and tablets," Canalys chief analyst for analytics Adam Daum said in a statement. "They are now central to how consumers engage with content and connected services, and how they personalize their devices around the app-enabled features that are important to them."

Apple's App Store, Google Play, the Windows Phone Store, and BlackBerry World are the four most used app stores and combined for $2.2 billion in revenue off app downloads in the first quarter, a 9 percent increase over 2012. Apple's App Store took home the most dough with about 74 percent of the market share.

While Google Play had less cash to put in the bank, it saw the greatest number of downloads -- roughly 51 percent of the stores' combined total. Apple came in at a close second for downloads.

"Apple's App Store and Google Play remain the heavyweights in the app store world. In comparison, BlackBerry World and the Windows Phone Store remain distant challengers today, though they still should not be ignored," Canalys senior analyst Tim Shepherd said. "Each of these four stores represents a different market proposition for developers, and remains the primary outlet to reach users on the platforms they serve."

While companies are raking in some serious money from apps, a December report by Canalys showed that few developers are actually seeing much of a profit. During November, just 25 developers, including Rovio, Zynga, Electronic Arts, and Disney, generated half of all mobile app revenue earned. These companies pulled in a combined $60 million in the U.S. from paid downloads and in-app purchases. All other developers earned the remaining $60 million.