Mobile App Development

Mobile apps: How important are they?

8th May 2013

In an ever-changing world of technology smartphone manufacturers are continually trying to get the edge over one another. So, it comes as no surprise that the number of apps available on a mobile platform plays a huge factor when potential consumers are selecting their perfect device.

Over the years the demand and popularity of mobile apps has risen dramatically although this isn’t to say that all smartphone users want a slice of the action.
That said all of the major mobile platforms like Apple, Google, BlackBerry and Windows Phone all have their own app stores, so it’s difficult to ignore the wealth of apps each of them has to offer. But just how much do they contribute to the overall success of these key smartphone players?


Apple was the first firm to bring users a huge range of apps in its App Store, which launched back in 2008. The company paved the way for other manufacturers who quickly launched their own app distribution services. But, even today Apple continues to generate significantly more revenue for its developers than even its biggest competitor, Google Play, which is available on Android devices.
An Apple report reveals that at the beginning of 2013 the App Store generated 40 billion downloads from its 500 million active account users. Almost 20 billion of these downloads occurred during 2012 alone, with a staggering two million app downloads in December last year, making it the best month in the market place’s history.
According to Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of internet and software services, over $7bn has been paid out to iOS developers over the last five years. Flurry Analytics research firm predicts that over the next 12 months the rate at which apps are downloaded will continue to soar.


Google’s Android platform is Apple’s biggest competitor, offering smartphone users the choice of more than 700,000 apps in the Google Play store. Last year the OS saw downloads jump by half a billion in less than one month, raising its total number of downloads to over 20 billion.
This huge boost over such a short space of time is largely down to the increasing number of Android device activations, an area will continue to grow with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4 now on the market.
However, apps developed for Android devices are created in a very different way to those for the iPhone, and this is due to the open-source nature of Google’s OS. This means various iterations of the software can be adapted across many different devices, which makes it difficult for app developers who then have to program their creations to work on a vast array of hardware configurations and software iterations.
Google may well have a higher instillation rate of apps compared to Apple, but the App Store generates significantly more revenue than Google Play.

BlackBerry/ Windows Phone

Both BlackBerry and Windows Phone have never been highly regarded for their selection of apps and have had somewhat of a lacklustre start when it comes to getting big names on board.
For BlackBerry it was only after its BB10 software was released earlier this year that a greater number of developers started to optimise its creations for the mobile platform. But, similarly to Windows Phone the Canadian manufacturer still has a long way to go before it is able to offer anywhere near the level of apps now available on Android and iOS.
Even when BlackBerry was top of its game a few years ago Apple still managed to record 20 times the number of app downloads. This is down to a number of reasons, including that developers continue to hit problems when trying to optimise their software to work on the OS, and those who do manage to do so price their apps much higher than counterparts on rival platforms.

Apps make cash

To provide a clearer understanding of the number of apps being downloaded research firm Xyologic has recently released a report highlighting the number of app downloads that took place in March 2013…

Of course many of these apps will be free to download, so what financial benefits do they have? Well it’s all about in-app purchases which means that once you’ve downloaded an app you’ll be presented with lots of extras which you can buy to enhance your game, such as additional lives.
Just because an app is free it doesn’t mean that it won’t end up costing you, and unless you disable in-app purchases via your handset’s setting menu the likelihood of you giving into temptation is very high indeed.
Of course there’s a raft of other apps available that are there to help enhance our smartphone experience and assist us in our everyday lives, so there is no doubt that having a wider selection makes for a stronger OS.
Over the last few years smartphone manufacturers and app developers alike have started to recognise the huge potential to earn money by way of these apps. And, as smartphones and ultimately app stores continue to grow to meet the wants and needs of the consumer, it seems that the revenue the app world generates will only continue to soar.

Written by Sarah Hazelwood of Dialaphone, a great place to find all the best mobile phones.

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