Jud Bowman is off to a smoking fast start with his smartphone application venture.

Not that Bowman smokes, mind you, but his new office is in full view of the towering Lucky Strike smokestack at the American Tobacco complex in the Bull City. And Bowman does have his sights set about as high as the stack is tall.

Smokestack lightning, perhaps?

Unlike many tech businesses across the country, PocketGear is profitable. It’s hiring. And as smartphone business grows, Bowman’s venture is growing with it.

“We’re up to 20 employees so far and have about five openings right now, all engineering and product development,” Bowman told LocalTechWire. PocketGear launched with 15 people and $10 million in annual revenue.

His enthusiasm is evident as he talks about business, office space and the evolving smartphone market.

“It’s a really amazing space,” Bowman said of his new digs. “If you look at the Durham skyline, just look for the Lucky Strike smokestack – we’re in the rooftop space of that building.

“I think it’s kind of neat that we’re in the building that literally powered the Duke tobacco factory, and PocketGear’s business is about powering app stores for companies like Palm.”

The Durham entrepreneur who acquired PocketGear’s assets from Motricity last June made another move Monday with the unveiling of an “application store” for the red-hot Android business.

Called , the venture is all about working with developers and buyers who want to make Google-backed Android phones such as the G1 offered by T-Mobile even smarter. PocketGear also announced a German language version of the site and a third focused on the United Kingdom.

“The new business is going really great,” said Bowman, who left Motricity to start another company. He had merged his first venture, Pinpoint, with Motricity, but when Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ryan Wuerch bolted for Washington state, Bowman stayed behind to focus on the PocketGear part of Motricity.

Backed by venture firms Wakefield Group and Noro-Moseley Partners, Bowman and company sought out their own space at the American Tobacco campus in Durham and started hiring people. As Motricity shed more than 200 people through layoffs and shuting down its posh Durham headquarters, PocketGear took root in the power plant building nearby.

“We’ve been profitable each month so far since the acquisition from Motricity,” Bowman said. “We’ve doubled our cash balance.

“Fortunately, we’re not seeing a downturn, which is saying a lot, given how tough the macro economy is right now.”

Bowman convinced Motricity’s board to sell him the smartphone piece and gave up a top job with Motricity to launch the spinout. His timing couldn’t have been more opportune. Apple’s iPhone put even more fuel in the tank of the smartphone business. Then came Google, Android and T-Mobile. Reasearch in Motion, with BlackBerry models and solutions, and Palm hasn’t been quiet, either.

Bowman embraced Android with the new Web site to make sure PocketGeart can be a player in that space.

“The launch of AndroidGear is really about positioning PocketGear as the company that powers app distribution for every smartphone platform – from Palm OS to Windows Mobile to BlackBerry to Symbian to Android,” Bowman said.

Other PocketGear sites include PalmGear, SymbianGear, RIMgear and Mobile2Day.

“With the tremendous success of the first Android-based phone, T-Mobile’s G1, Google managed an overwhelming first appearance in the smartphone-market,” Ralf Ockenfelds, international vice president for PocketGear, said in announcing the site. “Additional Android devices have been announced for launch in Q1 2009, and we believe this platform provides a significant opportunity for developers to distribute innovative applications to smartphone users.”

PocketGear also is making a site available for Android developers to load applications.

And much more is yet to come for the company, Bowman added. But at least for the time being, he doesn’t need more financing.

“Given that PocketGear is profitable and has a lot of cash in the bank, I have no plans to raise additional capital,” he explained. “I’m focused on growing the business organically.”

Next steps?

“We have another very big announcement coming up in about one to two weeks,” Bowman said. “Stay tuned.”