While early BlackBerry devices from Research In Motion may have paved the way for smartphone growth in the United States, the rise of touchscreen devices has spurred the rapid advent of downloadable applications.

According to a recent In-Stat report, 90 percent of all smartphones shipped this year will feature touchscreen displays. Going forward, this number is likely to increase to 100 percent.

At the same time, mobile apps are being downloaded at a stunning rate. According to the market research firm, nearly 48 billion mobile apps are expected to be downloaded by 2015.

It should surprise few that Apple is leading the charge in this trend, with more than 350,000 apps available on the App Store as of December 2010. Google, however, is also contributing to the growth with 80,000 apps available on the Android Market.

"The projected rapid penetration of touchscreen-enabled devices will allow more users to easily interact with mobile applications, thereby driving growth," said Amy Cravens, In-Stat senior analyst. "Increased on-board memory capacity will also lead to a better user experience."

Given Android's skyrocketing success in the smartphone market, many experts predict its number of available apps will surpass Apple in the near future. According to recent figures from IDC, Android will account for nearly half of the smartphone market by 2015.