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RIM, Nokia and Google's Android battle for Apple's iOS scraps as app market sales grow to $2.2...

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
While the mobile handset race is now being frequently described as a two horse race between Apple's iOS and Google's Android licensees, the mobile software world has four major contenders, with RIM's BlackBerry App World and Nokia's Ovi Store maintaining their lead over Google's Android Market.

On the heels of acquiring iSuppli, market research firm IHS has released an interesting look at the current and future markets for mobile software.

At the top of the charts is Apple's App Store, with a 82.7 percent share of the market on revenues of $1.78 billion, aided in part by sales of new iPad apps. The App Store has grown by 132 percent over the last year, but its share has slipped from last year's 92.8 percent as other vendors have worked hard to put in a showing.

In second place is RIM's BlackBerry App World with 7.7 percent share and revenues of $165 million. While offering a smaller catalog of titles, RIM's software is priced higher and aimed at an audience of business users. The market's software sales have grown by 360 percent in the last year. BlackBerry plans to release a PlayBook tablet it hopes will sustain this growth.

In third place is Nokia's Ovi Store, driven mainly through sales of Symbian software. IHS assigned Nokia a 4.9 percent share of the app market on software sales of $105 million, and said the company's mobile market has grown by 719.4 percent. Nokia just announced plans to transition its higher end smartphones to use Microsoft's Windows Phone 7, a platform that does not even appear in IHS' rankings.

Google's Android Market took fourth place, registering a 4.7 percent share on revenues of $102 million, representing growth of 861.5 percent compared to 2009. The discrepancy between Google's strong showing in handset sales and minority position in software sales was alluded to by Google itself, which has said it is "not happy" with the number of apps Android users are buying.



The report said mobile apps are likely to grow to a $3.9 billion business this year, with Apple expected to maintain more than half of all sales through 2014. IHS also figures that Apple's iPad, which currently makes up about 20 percent of App Store revenues, will increase to 50 percent of Apple's business by 2014.

Most apps are games

IHS said games made up 52.2 percent of all mobile app sales in 2010. Apple changed its historically serious stance on software to capitalize on gaming, particularly with the iPod touch and now iPad. Those efforts have put the squeeze not just on other mobile platforms, but also dedicated portable gaming devices from Nintendo and Sony.

One developer report even indicated that the iPad release of its title, World of Goo, performed better in unit sales and revenues than it had on console app markets, including Nintendo's WiiWare, Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade, and Sony's PlayStation Network, and even Steam sales on PCs and Macs.

Sony is fighting back with a new two pronged approach that targets Apple's iOS with both a high end, next generation PlayStation Portable (codenamed NGP) and a framework for adding basic PlayStation-branded games to Android phones that are certified as capable of running baseline games on the level of the mid-90s PlayStation One. The company has even hinted at releasing a tablet with PlayStation One games installed on it.

Previous attempts to create licensed gaming franchises have not worked out well, ranging from the 3DO program to Nintendo's efforts to license its games on Philips' CDi platform to Microsoft's efforts to launch Gizmondo as a portable gaming platform based on Windows CE, to OpenPandora, an effort at open source portable gaming built on Linux. At the same time, Nokia's efforts to launch cell phone gaming with N-Gage was also a disaster, leaving Apple's creation of a healthy gaming ecosystem for iOS as a rare success story.

Why is Apple ahead?

According to a report by Barrons blogger Tiernan Ray, analyst Toni Sacconaghi of Sanford Bernstein surveyed leading app developers to determine why Apple's iPhone remains for far ahead of Android, despite reports indicating that Android licensees represent a larger group.

Apple's App Store library now stands at 350,000 apps, compared to Android Market's 130,000 titles and far smaller catalogs for other platforms, including RIM's BlackBerry OS, Microsoft's Windows Phone 7, and HP's webOS.

One factor cited was the "45 percent incremental effort" required to port an app from one platform to another, which Sacconaghi interpreted to mean that "platforms beyond iOS and Android will continue to be challenged to develop meaningful developer support."

Interestingly, developers in the survey responded that Android was the easiest platform to write for, followed by iOS. It wasn't clear if this result only referred to matters related to development tools, or also included Apple's app approval process, a factor that many developers have described as frustrating to deal with in getting their apps listed within iTunes.

On the other end of the spectrum, "BlackBerry OS and Symbian were cited as especially difficult to develop on," Sacconaghi said. "We picked up some developer enthusiasm around RIMs QNX (used in the forthcoming Playbook), while developers talked about a wait-and-watch policy on Windows Phone 7.

HP's webOS, which it recently demonstrated as powering both new smartphones and a new tablet product, was also said to be easy to be "easy to develop on." The webOS, initially created by Palm, is based on web standards.

Market fragmentation

Ease of code development is not the only factor that impacts developers. While descried as easy to code for, Android was also noted by developers in the survey to have issues related to "fragmentation of both the software and the hardware profile."

The report added, "thats not going to change anytime soon, given the various competing interests in the Android market that keep parties from getting on the same page," noting that there are 15 different combinations of screen size and resolutions on Android devices that developers must account for, and "five different combinations for memory specification."

At the same time, Android's hardware fragmentation was described by the developer of Angry Birds as "not the issue, rather the fragmentation of the ecosystem," describing Android as becoming chaotic and "open, but not really open, a very Google-centric ecosystem."

Sacconaghi concluded that the survey results indicate continued dominance by the iOS and Android ecosystems," while holding out that "the most significant wildcard to this thesis is the potential emergence of code-conversion (common-runtime) tools that could deliver new apps to all major platforms at very little incremental cost to developers."

Despite the potential for common runtime tools (such as Adobe AIR) to help facilitate the development of cross platform mobile apps, "only one of the dozen developers surveyed is using such tools currently," the report stated.
post #2 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The report added, "thats not going to change anytime soon, given the various competing interests in the Android market that keep parties from getting on the same page," noting that there are 15 different combinations of screen size and resolutions on Android devices that developers must account for, and "five different combinations for memory specification."

Arent there also different aspect ratios to contend with?
post #3 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Logisticaldron View Post

Aren’t there also different aspect ratios to contend with?

Yeah, that would be the result of different screen resolutions in different ratios

I find it a miracle that Angry Birds was able to work on so many Android devices actually. The number of devices that they had to test against was unbelievable.
post #4 of 23
It's clear which platform paying people are on.. It's clear which platform developers should developing for if they want to make money.. Android Market came out just a few months after the App Store and it's not even close to the Apps Store's revenue..
post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartfat View Post

Yeah, that would be the result of different screen resolutions in different ratios

I find it a miracle that Angry Birds was able to work on so many Android devices actually. The number of devices that they had to test against was unbelievable.

Seriously. And I suspect it has a lot less to do with making money than staving off the bad PR they were getting over it--whether it was deserved or not. I doubt other game devs are going to the same lengths to port games.
post #6 of 23
If the Android systems are harder to develop for and the products are priced the same on iOS and Android systems, does that imply iOS purchasers are paying extra so Android users can purchase the programs? If this logic is correct, why buy programs that are being developed on both systems?
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomMcIn View Post

If the Android systems are harder to develop for and the products are priced the same on iOS and Android systems, does that imply iOS purchasers are paying extra so Android users can purchase the programs? If this logic is correct, why buy programs that are being developed on both systems?

No, it means that the Androids apps are far less profitable for developers which lowers the incentive to develop and support such apps.
post #8 of 23
WebOS will probably be the next big competitor for iOS. With HP backing WebOS and all of their money for development they should be able to grow quickly. If they just follow a similar marketing approach to Apple they will succeed.
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post

WebOS will probably be the next big competitor for iOS. With HP backing WebOS and all of their money for development they should be able to grow quickly. If they just follow a similar marketing approach to Apple they will succeed.

Total nonsense - copying and cloning the approach won't work. Only clear product differentiation and meaningful added value are going to help them. WebOS had plenty of ammo/marketing push behind it when it launched but was still a failure.
post #10 of 23
Further proof (and significant proof at that) that the android market is all about free, and stealing content/apps. Good luck with that. Google is the new evil.
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartfat View Post

Yeah, that would be the result of different screen resolutions in different ratios

I find it a miracle that Angry Birds was able to work on so many Android devices actually. The number of devices that they had to test against was unbelievable.

That is why they have 40 employees...not so they can make new levels, no, so they can test on the couple dozen android phones!
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

Further proof (and significant proof at that) that the android market is all about free, and stealing content/apps. Good luck with that. Google is the new evil.

Those numbers don't take ad revenue into account, nor do they include any content purchased outside of google checkout's app store.


You'll also notice the monetization i Android went up significantly in the past year.

Point of reverence: App Developer Kitteh Face Software (live wallpapers) is one of the more popular developers on android. They release a FREE and a Donate version of each app. Over christmas, they released a new wallpaper where for the first 6 weeks, 50% of the sale price of the donation version would be given to Child's Play (charity). The donation app is .99.

in 6 weeks, they raised over $14,000 for child's play. They have well over a dozen apps on the market.

One developer doesn't represent everyone, which is true, but it IS possible to make money on android, EVEN with paid content.
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Menno View Post

Those numbers don't take ad revenue into account, nor do they include any content purchased outside of google checkout's app store.


You'll also notice the monetization i Android went up significantly in the past year.

Point of reverence: App Developer Kitteh Face Software (live wallpapers) is one of the more popular developers on android. They release a FREE and a Donate version of each app. Over christmas, they released a new wallpaper where for the first 6 weeks, 50% of the sale price of the donation version would be given to Child's Play (charity). The donation app is .99.

in 6 weeks, they raised over $14,000 for child's play. They have well over a dozen apps on the market.

One developer doesn't represent everyone, which is true, but it IS possible to make money on android, EVEN with paid content.

Yep. With live wallpapers, widgets, and system management stuff. Such a vibrant ecosystem.
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post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

Total nonsense - copying and cloning the approach won't work. Only clear product differentiation and meaningful added value are going to help them. WebOS had plenty of ammo/marketing push behind it when it launched but was still a failure.

It was confined to the USA, and to Sprint. It was confined to a lack of access to good parts prices, and the capacity to manufacture something in good numbers, and marketing.

I, for one, have never seen a WebOS device where I live.

This will change. If they get the marketing right, they will behave better.
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Menno View Post

Those numbers don't take ad revenue into account, nor do they include any content purchased outside of google checkout's app store.


You'll also notice the monetization i Android went up significantly in the past year.

Point of reverence: App Developer Kitteh Face Software (live wallpapers) is one of the more popular developers on android. They release a FREE and a Donate version of each app. Over christmas, they released a new wallpaper where for the first 6 weeks, 50% of the sale price of the donation version would be given to Child's Play (charity). The donation app is .99.

in 6 weeks, they raised over $14,000 for child's play. They have well over a dozen apps on the market.

One developer doesn't represent everyone, which is true, but it IS possible to make money on android, EVEN with paid content.

So they play the guilt "rich dude you should share some of your shit" card, and get rich in the meantime?

Niiiice. Looks like a good con to me.
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

While the mobile handset race is now being frequently described as a two horse race between Apple's iOS and Google's Android licensees, the mobile software world has four major contenders, with RIM's BlackBerry App World and Nokia's Ovi Store maintaining their lead over Google's Android Market.

Isn't this just counting the apps sold through an app store? it is missing all the corporate developed apps etc which make up the $9 billion mobile app market
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Menno View Post

in 6 weeks, they raised over $14,000 for child's play. They have well over a dozen apps on the market.

One developer doesn't represent everyone, which is true, but it IS possible to make money on android, EVEN with paid content.

I think marketing for charity is a VERY different proposition (especially for kids at Christmas time). It would also be interesting to note what percent of the downloads/installs were actually 'paid' for since I think that speaks to more of the issue with developing for fandroid. Was there any differentiation in the products other one was free and the other 'donationware'?
post #18 of 23
wow so with this growth, android will own ever os within a year or so..
heh.. cant wait =)
post #19 of 23
@Menno, you forgot about the dude who made Task Manager ( bought a house with the ads)
and the one who made ADwLauncher - 150000$ per month =)
http://www.androidguys.com/2011/02/0...ay-150k-month/
post #20 of 23
The biggest thing holding the Android Market back is the availability of paid apps across the globe and the quality of apps (and by that I mean apps people want....like Netflix for example). The high growth rate certainly shows that when it's available, users will buy apps.
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by macdaddykane View Post

No, it means that the Androids apps are far less profitable for developers which lowers the incentive to develop and support such apps.

For now. If the differentials in growth rate hold up, the Android Market and the App Store will be generating the same amount of revenue by the end of 2012.
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartfat View Post

The number of devices that they (Angry Birds devs) had to test against was unbelievable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dish View Post

That is why they have 40 employees...not so they can make new levels, no, so they can test on the couple dozen android phones!

Not so according to a moderator over at androidforums.com

"You don't have to create multiple apps for each different screen size or spec. They provide the api's that will determine this for you."

http://androidforums.com/htc-desire/...s-iphones.html
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post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Not so according to a moderator over at androidforums.com

"You don't have to create multiple apps for each different screen size or spec. They provide the api's that will determine this for you."

http://androidforums.com/htc-desire/...s-iphones.html

Shhh. When it comes to talking about Android, you're not supposed to use facts, context or rational arguments on AI.

All you're supposed to do is keep saying Android will fail to meet some arbitrary goalpost (or fail flat out) and when it does, you're supposed to move the goalpost.

For now, all you have to say is, "Android market, FAIL!" And then when the sales catch up in a year and a half to two years, you're supposed to say, "Android's got a bazillion devices, and they sell to poor people everywhere, their sales were supposed to be higher!"

All this talk about resolution independence...Pfftt!
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