Apples, Androids and Apps – Taking Over the World One News Story at a Time

Categories Articles, iPhone

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It’s inevitable that wherever you look, if you’re checking out news about mobile applications, you’re seeing that the industry is growing. It’s not just growing by a little bit either, it’s growing by leaps and bounds. Last week ABI Research released some numbers suggesting that mobile app downloads will exceed 6 billion, in 2010, that’s well over 50% growth over the number of downloads seen in 2010. This type of growth is driven by a few factors:

  • More users are adopting smartphones
  • More apps are being added to the market everyday
  • New devices are being introduced (better phones, tablets)
  • New/Updated operating systems continue to improve functionality – iPhone 4.0, Windows Phone 7, Samsung Bada OS

Mobile is an industry worth paying attention to. With that, here are a few stories from last week that I feel have some important implications to the app community moving forward.

iPad, iAd and Other Apple News

With the iPad released last week, there was a lot of excitement, with initial projections suggesting sales of up to 600,000 units over the weekend. In the end, the iPad sold 450,000 units in 5 days, still a very respectable number, which will surely drive higher over the coming weeks and potentially spike a little when the 3G version of the device is released. In conjunction with the release, users downloaded 3.5 million apps for their new iPads. Despite this early success, there are those who are still questioning whether the iPad will be successful over the long-term. The Associated Press, as covered here in the NY Times, questions whether iPad users will actually download that many apps. Others have suggested that while the device is cool, it lacks some of the features that would make the device truly amazing. One of the biggest complaints from users of the iPad was the lack of multi-tasking ability. Certainly Apple was well aware that this would be a concern and criticism, perhaps that’s why they didn’t announce the release of iPhone 4.0 until after the release of the device, just to raise a little additional buzz. But, on Thursday, Apple provided news that indeed iPhone 4.0 would be coming and it would include multitasking, along with a host of other features. The other major feature coming out of Apple’s announcement was the introduction of the iAd platform. iAd will allow developers to integrate advertising into their apps in a very simple way and provides OS level integration which expands the possibilities more. Apple continues to innovate on their mobile products, but they remain largely closed and controlled. Will Apple open up as time goes on, more like the Android platform? Are developers going to start drifting away from Apple as a result of the “hoops” they have to jump through to work on the Apple platforms? Time will tell.

Big Month for Android IMS released a research report in which they suggest that Google needs to quickly work to standardize which OS it is going to support as current, or potentially face backlash from developers who are struggling to build apps which will work on the multiple versions fo the Android OS that are currently available on various devices. IMS analyst Chris Schreck said that Google is rumored to be working on a solution which would see updates come through the Android Market rather than the devices or through carriers, which could help to solve this issue. Despite whatever issues there are with the OS and the difficulties associated, March was a huge month for Android. Over 9,000 new apps were made available, nearly 1/3 of the total apps for Android. One of the major advantages that the iPhone has over Android is the number of available apps and this type of growth, if it continues, will start to bring Android closer to the number of apps available in the App Store. The disadvantage is that with the volume of apps increasing, the number of “junk” apps is also likely to increase, and the Android Market doesn’t maintain the same level of quality control that Apple does, which could make things even worse. The Android news from last week extends beyond just phones. In another report, IMS Research posited that 2010 will be a good one for Tablets, and while Apple’s iPad will certainly take the Lion’s share of 24% of tablets sold will actually be running the Android OS. In addition, a Swedish company, People of Lava, has introduced the first Android TV. The television, which is also the first to be manufactured in Sweden in years, will allow access to sites such as YouTube, NetFlix and Hulu, as well as apps for Twitter and Facebook among others. Whether the usage of apps on televisions is a growth area will remain to be seen, but certainly being able to access video services directly from the TV can’t hurt.

Twitter Changes Their Game

Early last week, Fred Wilson released a post which some feel implied a few things about what Twitter may do moving forward. In the post, Wilson compared developers of Twitter apps to the relationship between Apple and General Computers of years ago. From that it can be extrapolated that the implication was that Twitter could actually now start taking over some of the roles that to this point have been filled by other companies building their apps on the Twitter platform. In the post Wilson stated that he was not hinting at anything, however by the end of the week an announcement had been made that Twitter had purchased the popular iPhone Twitter client, Tweetie. Not only that, but the week saw the release of the official Twitter app for BlackBerry which had been announced a couple of weeks ago. It seems that the post from Wilson, Twitter’s top investor, may have been a hint after all. Which other areas Twitter will venture into and how it will impact developers who have leveraged the Twitter platform remains to be seen. For atebits, the acquisition of Tweetie was certainly worthwhile, but other developers may not be so lucky.

Ta-Ta For Now As always, there is much more news than I can cover, let alone get into in depth.

images copyrighted by laihiu, Richard-G, tomsun & christianrasmussen

Thorren is Director of Operations at Appboy, the premier social network for mobile app users and developers.

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