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Record 1.2 billion app downloads over Christmas

More than 1.2 billion apps were downloaded on to mobile phones and tablet devices during Christmas week, according to a new study, marking the first time that more than a billion app downloads have been recorded in a single week.

An estimated 20 million Android and Apple devices were activated during the week of Christmas, according to estimates from Flurry, the mobile analytics company, as people received iPads and smartphones as gifts. Flurry estimated that just before the holidays the global, active installed base of Apple and Android devices was 245 million, implying an 8 per cent increase in devices last week.

Last month, the analytics company had forecast that downloads would go beyond a record 1 billion during Christmas week, but even this estimate proved too conservative. The bulk of downloads originated in the U.S., according to Flurry, accounting for 509m or 42.3 per cent of the total. The second largest number, 99 million, were in China which is seeing rapid increases in smartphone use.

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The U.K. was third in number of downloads, with 81 million, ahead of fourth-place Canada (41 million), and a host of other developed countries. Games such as Angry Birds and Where's My Water? dominated the charts of most popular downloads, with board-games, such as Monopoly, Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit, adapted for mobile devices, seeing the largest numbers of downloads.

Peter Farago, vice-president of marketing at Flurry, said he expected these levels of downloads to become more common as the installed base of mobile internet devices grew.

"Looking forward to 2012, Flurry expects breaking the 1 billion per week download barrier will become more commonplace. While iOS and Android growth continues to amaze, the market is still by all measures relatively nascent," he said.

Flurry gathered its data via its analytics tool which monitored downloads and usage of 140,000 apps in both Google's Android Market and Apple's App Store. The company did not break down numbers for the individual operating systems.

However, the split between Apple and Android appears roughly even. Flurry estimated that 6.8 million devices were activated on Christmas day and Google confirmed that more than 3.7 million new Android-based devices came into use over the Christmas weekend.

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