downloaded and installed on theirsmartphones. o my great surprise,most o them conrmed that they hadn’t installed any applications, and were only using the apps that camebundled with their respective devices.But most o them wanted to use theirphones or something more than whatthey were already using it or.
A lack of ‘app awareness’?
Tese observations highlight aproblem that is hindering the adoptiono mobile applications—issues relatingto application discovery, applicationcompatibility and usage [usability]. Forexample, media sharing is the most‘desired’ eature or mobiles but weknow that there are many applicationsto accomplish that objective. How do users discover and install thoseapplications without worrying toomuch about compatibility, the sotwareplatorm, network dependency, etc.Finding and installing anapplication on a mobile phoneis not a trivial task. Tere are toomany variables. Currently, there area number o operating systems ormobile phones. Each o them havetwo or more favours, and in mostcases there are two input methods(keypad and touchscreen) or eachfavour. So i you want to ensure areasonably good ootprint or yourapplication, you need to make sureyou support all these scenarios. Factorin the constraints o device capabilitiesand restrictions imposed by telecomoperators, and you have a perectrecipe or chaos!However, this situation is changingand a harbinger o this change is Apple’s iPhone App store. Apple’siPhone and its innovations have beendiscussed to death in the media butamidst all this hoopla, most o ushaven’t paid enough attention to theiPhone App store. In the long run, the App store can prove to bring biggeradvantages or Apple than the otherkey eatures o the iPhone becausesooner or later, every eature o iPhone will surely be copied by other handsetmanuacturers. So it makes sense tospend some time understanding theconcept in detail.
An ideal market place
Te iPhone Application Storeis essentially a market place wheredevelopers can list their iPhone sotwareor download. Millions o iPhone userscan explore and buy these applicationsby a single click, using Apple’s iunes.In more than one way, App Store isevery sotware developer’s dream.Tink about it—the iPhone is one o the astest growing mobile platormsin the world and the App Store is theonly way to legally reach almost alliPhone users. Tere’s no other way tobuy sotware, so users never doubt i there is some other, better sotware outthere—as ar as they’re concerned, i itis not on the store, it doesn’t exist. ouse this distribution channel, developersneed to register themselves with Apple.Registered iPhone application developerscan list their sotware and decide theprice at which they want to sell it toend users. In exchange o 30 per cento that price, Apple provides developers with services like application hosting,credit card processing, monthly billing,analytics, upgrade acilitation, etc.In the light o these acts, it is notsurprising that there is a mad rush todevelop applications or the iPhoneplatorm. o date, there are more than3000 applications listed in the iPhone App Store and more than 100 millionapplication downloads have takenplace. Developers o the best-sellingapplications, like ‘ap ap Revenge’and ‘Monkey Ball’, have already attained a celebrity status o sorts,not to mention a good payout. For aplatorm that is less than a year old, thisis nothing short o a gold rush.Tis is translating into a bigtime opportunity or the outsourceddevelopment o applications. A loto work is being done in India too.Sunil Goyal, co-ounder o Wirkleechnologies, a Gurgaon-basedmobile application developmentfrm, says, “We are very excited aboutthe opportunity. Most o our clientshave shown an intent to create anapplication or the iPhone. However,it is very hard to keep up with thedemand. It is because o a massiveshortage o developers with the requisiteskills. We are dealing with this problemby hiring and investing heavily intraining existing team members or theiPhone development environment.”I skill shortage is one issue, thenthe monetisation o ree iPhoneapplications is another issue, whichis attracting a lot o attention. AdMob, a Silicon Valley-based mobileadvertisement frm, has started a specialinitiative to provide advertisements,specifcally or the iPhone. Given the
“The mobile phone user base isbig enough to support multipleapp stores... There might be aconsolidation few years down theline but I don’t see any immediatethreat in the next couple of years.”
Sunil Gyal, c-fund,Wikl Tchnlgis
m o b i l I T y