Worldwide mobile application store revenue is projected to triple to more than $15.1 billion this year and reach $58 billion in three years, according to Gartner Inc.

The research firm says revenue will be generated both from end users buying applications and applications themselves generating advertising revenue for their developers.

Worldwide mobile application store downloads is projected to more than double to 17.7 billion downloads in 2011 from an estimated 8.2 billion downloads last year. By the end of 2014, Gartner expects over 185 billion applications to have been downloaded from mobile app stores, since the launch of the first one in July 2008.

We estimate that Apple's App Store drove close to nine application downloads out of 10 in 2010 and will remain the single best-selling store across our forecast period (through 2014), although to a lesser extent, as other stores manage to gain momentum, said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.

On January 22, Apple said over 10 billion apps have been downloaded from its App Store by more than 160 million iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users worldwide.

Many are wondering if the app frenzy we have been witnessing is just a fashion, and, like many others, it shall pass. We do not think so, said Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director at Gartner.

We strongly believe there is a sizable opportunity for application stores in the future. However, applications will have to grow up and deliver a superior experience to the one that a Web-based app will be able to deliver, said Baghdassarian.

Baghdassarian said native apps will survive the Web enhancements only when they will provide a more-personal and richer experience to the ‘vanilla’ experience that a Web-based app will deliver.

According to Gartner, Android market, Nokia's Ovi Store, Research In Motion's (RIM's) App World, Microsoft Marketplace and Samsung Apps are the key competitors that saw the number of application downloads grow in 2010.