GetJar smartphone app shop closes in on a billion downloads

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GetJar has become a hot spot for free mini-applications for just about any kind of smartphone.

Nearly 750 million downloads of applications had been logged at as of Friday and the company expects that number to pass a billion in the coming two to three months.

About 300,000 software developers have accounts to submit programs to GetJar, which boasts a collection of more than 50,000 mini-applications crafted for thousands of different types of handsets.

"There are devices we may not support, but they are probably from the Stone Age," GetJar executive Patrick Mork said while demonstrating the service for AFP at a Consumer Electronics Show taking place this week in Las Vegas.

"Whether you are in France, Germany, Spain or anywhere else you just type '' and as soon as it lands it tells you which device you have and what apps are available, and it's free."

A visit to GetJar on a BlackBerry on Friday popped up an opening page with free mobile applications including one for speaking Google searches and another for remembering where one parked their car.

The website indicated that there had been more than 31 million downloads of a mobile Facebook online social networking application from GetJar.

GetJar revenue comes from software makers bidding for prominent display at the website. GetJar gets paid the bid price each time an application is downloaded, and gets nothing if there are no downloads, according to Mork.

GetJar has been in the mobile applications shop business slightly more than two years and has started noticing geographic trends when it comes to which devices and programs are popular.

For example, an Azan application that lets Muslims use smartphones to keep track of how many times to pray daily, when and in which directions is among the Top 10 downloads in Britain, according to GetJar.

"At first I couldn't understand why Azan was so popular in the United Kingdom, and then I realized most of the downloads were in London which has a big Muslim community," Mork said.

"We do see cultural nuances between countries."

GetJar is venture-backed and has offices in Britain, Lithuania, and Silicon Valley in Northern California.