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App Store Revolution

App Store Revolution

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Published by Prashant

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Published by: Prashant on Feb 14, 2009
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06/16/2009

 
Mobile users and mobilesoftware developers couldbe in for the time of theirlives as companies exploredifferent ways of gettingmobile apps to cell phonecustomers. We take a closerlook at this trend and whatmight emerge.
The mobile revolution isfuelled not just by themyriad new applications thatare coming up, but also bythe innovative means bywhich companies are reachingout to these consumers.What’s your way?
 The fortune cookie
m
obisy, a Bangalore-based mobilestart-up, recently conducted asurvey o morethan 500 mobile enthusiasts tounderstand what exactly they wanted todo on their smartphones. Te basic aimo the survey was to narrow down onthe killer application(s) or Indian users.Te results o that survey were quitesurprising. Te most desired eatures were media sharing applications—toshare photos, video and audio les,ollowed by applications to do aproximity search or local search that would help users to nd a coee shopor an AM in their vicinity. Teseresults were surprising because theseapplications already exist. Tere areseveral decent products that serveexactly the same needs mentioned inthe survey. Obviously, there isa very low awareness o what’salready available.Tis discrepancy wasvery intriguing or me so Idecided to double check thendings o the Mobisy study by doing some research on my own. I e-mailed some o my riends and asked them aboutthe application(s) they had
Are We Heading For A
Mobile App
 
Revolution?
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downloaded and installed on theirsmartphones. o my great surprise,most o them conrmed 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 sotwareplatorm, 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 perectrecipe 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 handsetmanuacturers. 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 sotwareor download. Millions o iPhone userscan explore and buy these applicationsby a single click, using Apple’s iunes.In more than one way, App Store isevery sotware developer’s dream.Tink about it—the iPhone is one o the astest growing mobile platormsin the world and the App Store is theonly way to legally reach almost alliPhone users. Tere’s no other way tobuy sotware, so users never doubt i there is some other, better sotware 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 sotware 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 iPhoneplatorm. 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 aplatorm 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 Wirkleechnologies, 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 Gyal, c-fund,Wikl Tchnlgis
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