App Market Peaking

August 19th, 2014

mobileworldlive.pngMobile World Live, brought to you by the GSMA, has a new article on how the app market is close to peaking in the UK and Deloitte says this trend could become global over the next few years. Apparently, there’s an increasing number of ‘casual users’ who are less interested in downloading app releases.

I see this as the market maturing. I suspect there will be fewer apps, more app rot and fewer indie developers as the good apps get better (and cost more) and the poorer, no value ‘web site in an app’ and ‘advert in an app’ apps fall off the end of the app stores.

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Google Play Revenue vs App Store Revenue

August 15th, 2014

strategyanalystics.gifYesterday I posted on how Android now has 84.7% of the Smartphone market. However, Android users are less affluent than iOS users and tend to be less inclined to pay for apps or in-app purchases. So when might there be enough Android users to counteract Android users’ unwillingness to pay?

Strategy Analytics has new research that shows that this is as far away as 2016. This will also be driven by additional downloads due to newer connected devices such as wearables and cars. In-app purchases currently account for the majority of revenue. In app-purchases currently represent about 20% of the market and this is expected to decrease to to 16% by 2018.

Interestingly, average selling prices have increased from a low of $2.07 in 2010 to $2.69 last year. It seems as though those few apps people are willing to pay for are making the most of their position and commanding better prices.

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IDC Q2/2014 Smartphone Shipments

August 14th, 2014
idc.gifIDC have details on smartphone shipments for Q2 2014. Android and iOS now account for 96% of the market. Total shipments were more than 300 million in Q2.

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Windows Phone and Blackberry are just about dead. iOS market share is starting to become worryingly smaller. However, most of Android’s growth is in developing countries. Having said this, only yesterday, on my trip up to London, I observed that so many people had Samsung phones. Only a short time ago everyone seemed to have iPhones. Things are changing.

Android really is getting huge. Cue European anti-trust investigations.

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Discover The Enterprise Mobile Opportunities

August 12th, 2014
goodtechnologies.pngGood Technology have a new free Mobile Index Report (pdf) to "track and analyze the impact of mobile apps and platforms". The report concentrates on the use of apps in the enterprise.

Top usecases include document editing, instant messaging, business intelligence and CRM. Enterprise app activations increased 20% quarter over quarter.

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"Android device activations jumped significantly quarter over quarter, increasing five percentage points to 32 percent of total activations, while iOS activations decreased that same amount and recorded 67 percent of total activations."

Financial services, business and professional services and insurance are seeing the greatest uptake with other areas such as public sector, retail, utilities and healthcare seeing low take up. However, I see the lagging industries as areas for opportunity and the leading industries as early adopters where there’s probably already too much competition.

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Developer Lottery

August 8th, 2014

visionmobile.gifVision Mobile has a new post on "Will Developers Stop Playing the App Lottery?". In summary, the majority of developers don’t make money. However, the ecosystem will exist as long as there’s a supply of developers hoping to get rich.

The analysis of ‘developer’ (whatever that means) in this way is probably narrow in that it only covers developers looking to make money from apps. Most developers, outside gaming, create apps for reasons other than creating direct revenue. Focussing on revenue alone gives a false view of the opportunities in mobile.

Let’s take an example. Only yesterday I was reading an article about Pinterest in the Wired UK magazine (article not available online yet). Pinterest’s mobile users grew by 50% in 2013. This isn’t 50% of nothing. It now makes up 75% of all usage. Pinterest now focus on creating "delightful, powerful mobile experiences". They are designing new features for mobile first and then adapting them for the web. For Pinterest, mobile is all about retaining users as they use the desktop less and mobile more. It’s about using the mobile aspect to allow the user to take more mobile-oriented actions with the data.

Developers should concentrate less on selling apps or in app purchases and more on fulfilling needs, creating great end user experiences and creating app ideas that can’t easily be copied through building up networks of users, unique transactions or using unique data inside the app. Satisfying these requirements will lead to revenue through other means.

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Tablet Shipments Stalling

August 6th, 2014

strategyanalystics.gifStrategy Analytics confirms that tablet shipments have stalled. Apple also saw a decrease in number of units shiped and a reduction in market share from 29% to 25% mainly due to the strength Android (70% market share).

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It’s interesting that tablet shipments have peaked at approximately 50 million units per quarter. This is much less than smartphone shipments that are at around 290 million units per quarter and still increasing. While it might seem more attractive to specifically target smartphone form factors, you should also consider that smartphones are replaced more often, in extreme cases, sometimes within a year. The installed base is probably larger than quarterly shipments might suggest.

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Android AOSP Devices and Development

August 5th, 2014
abiresearch.gifABI Research has some interesting findings in that Forked Android AOSP grew 20% quarter-on-quarter and now accounts for about 20% of the market. Chinese and Indian vendors accounted for the majority of smartphone shipments for the first time with 51% share.

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Some people might think AOSP implies Chinese devices for use in China. However, this isn’t necessarily so. From a developer perspective, I am also finding I am using forked AOSP more than previously, especially where a vertical solution needs to use a particular device. More recently I have worked on health, hospitality and consumer electronics solutions centred around particular AOSP devices.

How does AOSP development differ? First of all, you can’t use any APIs that require Play Services. This includes things such as the maps, push notifications and in app billing. You obviously also can’t use the Play store for distribution. A more serious limitation, for me at least, as been the lack of developer support. In particular, no ADB drivers to allow debugging on some devices. I have also previously written about non-conformant APIs.

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Severe Security Flaws Found In Security Apps

August 1st, 2014

trendmicro.pngTrend Micro has a post on how flaws have been found in some file locker apps. The problem is that developers have mistakenly thought that hiding sensitive information makes it secure. Unfortunately, you can’t get security through obscurity. The scary thing is that consumers have been trusting these apps with their particularly sensitive information. One of the apps has over 50 million downloads and others have downloads of millions of users.

The apps should be encrypting data and also securing the decryption key.