The global market for mobile apps is set to rocket to $38 billion (just over £23 billion) by 2015, according to Forrester Research.

The mobile apps market in 2010 on the current range of smartphone platforms from Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry and others was worth in the region of $1.7 billion globally, with the market set to explode over the coming years.

And with new smartphones and tablets on the way soon from the likes of Google, Microsoft, BlackBerry, Samsung, Motorola and other manufacturers, sales of dedicated applications for such devices looks set to soar.

Short-term boom or long-term business?

While some critics are quick to dismiss the growth in paid-for downloadable apps as a short-term response to smartphone hardware growth, Forrester's latest research certainly suggests otherwise, stating in its new report that the global app market will continue to grow at a phenomenal rate over the next five years.

Apple is currently market leader, with over 350,000 iOS apps already on the iTunes App Store for iPod touch, iPhone and iPad owners to download.

Google is clearly hoping to reap the benefits of its own mobile app software eco-system with the Android Market, while RIM has its own BlackBerry App World, HP has its Palm App Catalog, and Microsoft has its own Apps Marketplace.

Forrester Research's latest report says that the "explosion of app development that started on the iPhone only scratches the surface of what's about to emerge".

TechRadar has contacted a number of the UK's leading commercial smartphone app developers, so stay tuned for updates and responses to this story as and when we get them.