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IRVINE, Calif. — This week, executives from Kelley Blue Book marked the official launch of its free application for the iPhone, an app that's actually been live on the Apple iTunes Store since late April.

However, they wanted to highlight the capabilities of the application as well as the automaker that plans to serve as a platform sponsor for the remainder of the year.

Kelley Blue Book explained that its iPhone application for Kbb.com includes several features meant to benefit both dealers and consumers. The application can provide all of the data Kelley Blue Book offers, including new- and used-car values with MSRP, invoice, New Car Blue Book, certified pre-owned, suggested retail, private party and trade-in values.

Furthermore, detailed dealer contact information, along with maps and directions to showrooms, can be downloaded through the application. Also, 360-degree view of vehicles can be accessed through the application, too.

Company officials indicated the Kbb.com app for iPhone went live on the iTunes store in late April. They highlighted that it's been downloaded more than 66,000 times already, a rate KBB insisted has kept the app on the top 25 list within the iTunes lifestyle category.

Kelley Blue Book also believes its iPhone application has been so successful thus far is because it links to the company's Twitter feed. Through that social network stream, site analysts can share their insight into the latest in industry news and information.

Also, there's a bonus within the application, what technology gurus call an "Easter egg." The company revealed that when users find it, a copy of the first Kelley Kar Blue Book which was published in 1926 is available.

To promote this launch further, Kelley Blue Book teamed up with Chevrolet. The automaker will serve as the exclusive sponsor for the Kbb.com app for iPhone throughout 2010.

Executives highlighted that Chevrolet branding is present throughout the app and on Kbb.com, including the mobile section of the Web site. The manufacturer is looking to reach thousands of mobile users each with its specific Chevy-branded campaign.

"With the use of mobile apps increasing and shoppers' expectations for real-time information, Chevrolet sees this app as a great addition to the electronic marketing we do today," explained Steve Rosenblum, director of Chevrolet advertising.

"We continue to expand our mobile and digital efforts to reach consumers in places they go naturally even when they aren't shopping for a vehicle to provide valuable information on the full lineup of Chevrolet cars, potentially impacting a purchase decision," Rosenblum continued.

Kelley Blue Book cited a MediaPost.com report that indicates mobile application stores will exceed 4.5 billion downloads this year. Moreover, the report said eight out of 10 downloads will be free to end users.

KBB went on to mention another analysis about the depth of mobile application penetration. The company noted a forecast by Gartner that predicted worldwide downloads in mobile application stores to surpass 21.6 billion by 2013.

Those statistics helped to fuel the enthusiasm for this iPhone application, according to Justin Yaros, executive vice president of product design and development for Kelley Blue Book's Kbb.com.

"While car shoppers have long used Kbb.com to research their next new or used car, there are often situations that require this same information on the go," Yaros pointed out.

"With Kbb.com's app for iPhone, shoppers are empowered with car-buying information from their pocket," he continued.

"If someone is on the dealership lot and finds a car they were not previously considering, they can now obtain its value and read the reviews on the spot," Yaros went on to state. "This new app gives shoppers the means to negotiate confidently with dealers and provides the tools they need to make the best decision possible."

Despite all of the hoopla for its iPhone application, Kelley Blue Book also stressed that it offers a mobile site optimized for non-iPhone users. To access the site, users can visit Kbb.com on a mobile device and be automatically redirected.