NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- With Verizon ( VZ) expecting to sell 11 million Apple ( AAPL) iPhones this year, mobile application developers should see a windfall in the number of customers using their products. New Verizon iPhone users -- and the subsequent launch of iPhones on other CDMA-based carriers -- could help expand Apple's App Store next year by $1 billion, according to research firm IDC. The App Store is estimated to reach sales of $6 billion, up from $2.8 billion last year.
"We think there will be a feeding frenzy with the Verizon iPhone of tons of people downloading apps like crazy," said Sam Altman, founder and CEO Loopt, a Mountain View, Calif.-based location-based social game. "It's going to be a land grab." With more iPhones in the market, some app developers may choose to focus more aggressively on building games for the iOS platform, even if they continue writing apps for Google's ( GOOG) Android software. And unlike Android, where developers must ensure their app works on a variety of different handsets, the iPhone runs on only one device, which makes building programs simpler. "We like being able to focus our technology on iOS so we can maintain streamlined applications internally, and have not have concerns about compatibility," said Barry Geipel, the founder of app developer Mantid Interactive in Carmel, Ind. "With the Verizon iPhone, nothing new in our code base needs to change." With the Verizon iPhone virtually identical features-wise to that of its AT&T ( T) counterpart, the carriers will compete on service and pricing, rather than handsets -- a win-win for both consumers and developers, said Cyriac Roeding, the founder of mobile shopping app Shopkick in Palo Alto, Calif. "Competition is always good to spur innovation," he said. The Verizon network may more reliable than AT&T in many locations for downloading data-heavy applications, said Ge Wang, the co-founder of app company Smule in Palo Alto, Calif., which makes mobile music programs like Magic Fiddle and Glee Karaoke. "Availability and connectivity are very important to us, and the network has been our Achilles heel," he said, citing problems that customers have had, including slow data connections when trying to download songs.