THE FUTURE OF APP STORES
According to Gartner report “Market Trends: Mobile App stores, Worldwide, 2012”, Smart device popularity drives opportunity for mobile app stores which by 2016 will reach 310 billion downloads and $74 billion in revenue.
Apple’s market share is the largest, considering its App Store accounts for 25 per cent of available apps in all stores.
Apple announced there were 700,000 apps in the iTunes App Store during the iPhone 5 launch event on Sept’12 (now it is 8,00,000 in Jan’13) and there are now more than 675,000 apps available in Google Play.
Do these astounding number and figures say something? Will the growth be phenomenal in years to come?
Let’s try to find a pragmatic answer to the App store dilemma!
Why App stores gained popularity?
With that of a genius as Steve Jobs and his futuristic concepts, the Apple App store was born in 2008. In less than 5 years, Apple has reached 500 million active users. Google was quick to realize the potential and launched Android Market (Google Play) in the same year as that of iTunes.
The main reason for App stores popularity is as mentioned below
- Proliferation of Smart devices around the world.
- Availability of superior computing power on the devices.
- Support for rich media content.
- User centric App availability based on user’s interest like Utility, Entertainment, Education among bunch of other categories.
- Great distribution methodologies coupled with secure payment gateways.
- Revenue earning streams coupled with advertisements.
- Short development lifecycle for developers.
- Great App availability within an affordable price range.
Apart from the above, there are few other criteria like regulations, exclusivity, hardware availability for the growth of App market.
All the above points depict the positive side for app development and growth of App stores. Let’s check the other side of the coin!
Is App development alone a viable business model? How many companies can sustain themselves by being only in App development? Will we see an Apple or Google among the App development companies, who can rake the moolahs in?
To answer all the above questions, we may answer in ambiguity or being on the optimistic side, we may answer WHY NOT?
Some fact for you
There is no shortage of stories about lone developers like Rovio (Angry Birds), Lima Sky (Doodle Jump) or iMangi Studio (Temple Run) who made an app for the iPhone or iPad and had runaway success. But in the real world, the majority of app makers struggle to break even, according to a recent survey by marketing firm App Promo.
Being in the mobile industry for over 7 years, I agree with the above findings and it got further reinstated after confirmation from many industry stalwarts in India and abroad.
My basic questions are
- With so many applications/games in the fray, how a start-up company or a new app will come to your notice?
- What may be the advertising budget for a new app? Will it ensure success?
- What if, the app store grows to 10 million apps within 3 years, which is a possibility?
- Is the SEO (Search algorithm) to find/locate an app matured for mobile?
Time has come to think out-of-box approach.
Companies like Tap Joy, who were assisting publishers/developers (by charging hefty fees) to increase the number of downloads and improve discoverability are banned by Apple. Nevertheless play your numbers in Android.
Replicating Apple & Google model, a large number of companies came up with their individual App stores. Few died (like Oracle Java Store) and others are in the process of dying or becoming a white elephant for their masters.
Then what’s the future?
Few people predict it is Enterprise App stores (EAS).
An enterprise app store is a web portal through which end users can access, download and install corporate-approved software applications. It is different from Consumer App stores like iTunes and Google Play.
As an individual and industry person, I believe both the solutions will co-exist in parallel. I firmly believe in Apple and Google model of App distribution through their respective stores, if and only if the discoverability element is taken care of! If at all a WEB can happen on the mobile through HTML 5, which I can foresee to happen sooner than later.
Going further, I can suggest a combination of HUMAN COMPUTER INTERACTION SCIENCE embedded with 5 senses of human can just turn the play magical. Just think of the apps/features and the app stores will pop it for you on your device(s). This is no imagination. Work is on by many companies to turn this into reality.
What do you think? For all your suggestions, comments, feedbacks write to me at email@example.com