Apps Stores (Part II): A study in Native versus Third party Apps
Followed from an earlier post. Read here
High-end smartphone users today tend to be early adopters of new mobile applications and more trustful of billing mechanisms, so they will pay for applications that can meet their needs. Average smartphone users will become less tech-savvy as smartphones come down in price to have a mass market appeal and these users will be more reluctant to pay for applications. Growth in smartphone sales will not necessarily mean that consumers will spend more money, but it will widen the addressable market for an offering that will be advertising-funded.
An application can be free because the developer is offering it at no cost to the consumer while charging for other things within the application. There are also applications that are free to use but that charge for physical goods that you can have delivered through the application. There are many applications that are free to users and derive their revenue from advertising. This can be done with banners as well as full page advertising between game levels for instance. Thus it is critical for the applications to be “sticky” enough to engage the user for more ad opportunities and be addictive enough that users want to keep coming back which will thus give a repeat value to eye-balls acquired.
Native Apps Stores versus Third party Apps stores
The easiest way to download apps would be the native apps store. So we have the Apps Store from Apple, Android Marketplace for Android phones, Ovi Store for Nokia Phones, Blackberry App World for RIM devices, App Marketplace for Windows Mobile smartphones and more (Samsung, LG, HTC are all building their native Apps stores).But a whole other universe of third-party, independent mobile app stores are out there, which sell apps across platforms and offer some unique features that are not found in the native app stores. Apple and Windows have locked their apps stores unless one goes for jail-breaking their devices.
There are about 37 third party apps stores and the ones of note and scale are as follows:
GetJar: Has over 1 billion downloads till date with over 70K applications which supports Android, Blackberry, Symbian, WinMo 6.5, Java. The Android version of the beloved game Angry Birds (which held the number one spot in the iTunes App Store for many weeks) debuted on GetJar rather than on the Android Market
Handango: The largest cross platform 3rd party mobile app store which is a result of the merger of Handango and Pocketgear.
A few others of note are MobiHand, andspot and SlideMe.