BERLIN: The German appetite for mobile devices and associated products shows no signs of slowing down, new figures have indicated.

According to BITKOM, the trade association for the IT, telecoms and new media industries, sales of tablets more than doubled in 2012, from 2.1m to 4.4m. Sales this year will exceed 5m.

"More and more people are supplementing or replacing their old desktop PC or notebook with their tablet," said BITKOM's Michael Schidlack.

And they are downloading more and more apps for these tablets as well as for their smartphones.

BITKOM data show that more than 1.7bn apps were downloaded in Germany in 2012, an 80% increase on the previous year.

"The mega-trend to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers is unbroken. Apps play a key role in this," said Tobias Arns, an expert in mobile services at BITKOM.

Some 83% of smartphone users installed additional programs with around half preferring to download only free ones. Around a third occasionally installed paid-for apps while just 5% did so regularly.

"The many free programs have contributed significantly to the success of smartphones, because they have turned then from mobile phones into multifunction devices," noted Arns.

Another aspect of this is the increased use of smartphones by gamers: 34% now play on their mobile phone, with one in four doing so every day.

Tablets, too are seeing increased use by gamers, with 11% using this device daily and 60% playing on it several times a week.

Arns suggested that mobile devices were reaching new players, as people who had not previously played games were installing gaming apps on their smartphones and tablets.

Data sourced from BITKOM; additional content by Warc staff