Sunday, September 14, 2008

Apps May Be Bigger Than Anyone Is Anticipating

It's been reported in the latter days of last week on at Apple's "Let Rock" event over 100 million apps have been downloaded since the debut of the iTunes app store.

100 Million apps and sustaining a monthly download of 70 million apps, folks are equating this to a growing number is not going to stay constant in the coming months.  With the rush of new iPod Touches and additional iPhones soon available in additional countries, that 70 million download figure will have to be revised upward in the coming months.

So, developers.  Pay attention.  If you've got a decent app and some programming kung fu, you could be a part of a very big digital gold rush.  So far, we are seeing this phenomenon with iTunes and iPhone.  Once other apps stores for Google's Android and Microsoft's Skymarket go online, we can see growth increase beyond what we are seeing with the iPhone now.

A number of people who watching this are comparing this app number to the music figure for the iTunes.  It's estimated at this time, the app growth is twice the rate of iTune's music growth.  It took two years for iTunes to reach one billion while current model finds that that app downloads will reach that in half the time.  I'm thinking this will happen sooner as the iPhone and iPod Touch software becomes more stable and users more comfortable with their devices.

Truth is, you ain't see nothing yet.

These app numbers for the iPhone, in my judgement, is small compared to what we will be talking about a year from now.   And this is fantastic news.  With smartphones and mobile platform devices expected to grow by double digits for years to come, a developer can potentially see riches even participating in one app store with a good app.

On tap next in the app store biz is Google's Android to be follow by Microsoft's Skymarket for Windows Mobile 7 in 2009.  Other device makers have also pledge to develop their own app stores.  Of course, app growth with these new stores is not simply going to get iPhone app growth overnight.  There are will have a number of factors involving the types of stores and how accessible the stores are.

Take T-Mobile's app store which Onxo think will run into a number of problems given the protective nature of wireless providers.  Essentially, you'll have Google's Android store on one extreme with almost no restriction and T-Mobile-like app store on the other end that seems to purposely shun and handcuff what developers can creatively do.

We will not pretend to guess what the growth rates are going to be next month or even the day after Christmas but app store operators, be it Apple or Google, better be ready for the rush of new users trying to fill their new mobile devices with games, social or productivity apps.

Note:  Here's the reason why many online analysts are using iTune's music numbers and the iPhone app numbers.  Right now, there's only one app store of it's kind, and it's for the iPhone.  And since iTunes command a large chunk of digital music downloads, the comparison of these two figures is understandable.

But I do see this change over time especially if people want to talk about app growth at large versus just iPhone app growth.  In addition, look for people to compare app growth between iPhones, other mobile mobile platforms, and smartphones.

Related Onxo posts:

  • Wireless providers hope we're too stupid to realize they only want control.
  • Creating an app store ecosystem.  How this matters to providers and mobile users.
  • Free apps!  Let them run on PCs and Macs.
  • Microsoft's Skymarket.

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