Posts Tagged ‘mobile’
First you have apptism, hoping it provides a better way to search for and find iPhone applications. apptism provides all kinds of search and rating criteria to help you in your sojourn. Similarly, we have iphonexe. Both link potential buyers directly to the iTunes App Store (hear that sound coming from One Infinite Loop? It’s ‘Woot!”!).
Next we find device-specific (or ‘brand-specific’ or ‘platform-specific’) alternative marketplaces.
The most well-known of these is Google’s Android Market with content specific to devices running Google’s Android operating system (at the time of this writing, only the TMobile G1). However, Google has made known that it will give a slice of marketplace revenue to its carrier-partners. Some see this as even more egregious than Apple taking a cut of App Store revenues, so several non-splitting shops have set up storefronts – specifically, SlideME and AndAppStore. SlideME, in specific, looks to address what it seems to feel are inequities in the application revenue model.
Let’s not count Research In Motion out here. Makers of the once-top-of-the-heap Blackberry are going to create a Blackberry-specific store called, appropriately enough, BerryStore.
Where’s Howard Stern when you need him? His “Dead or Alive?” segment might be useful for this news: Palm is working with PocketGear on the IBMishly-named Palm Software Store.
Update 01.09.09: Palm just announced the new Pre phone, featuring an all-new (for Palm) development model. And, with it, a re-named application store called the App Catalog.
Some believe the path to success runs through a Walmart approach, addressing many phone types.
mobango, for instance, is a true alternative marketplace – relaunched in October 2008 with free content only (for now?) and an associated social network for content sharing.
Nor are the carriers being shy about getting their slice.
O2 is getting into the game. This wants to be a multi-platform store – including Java as well as OS-specific applications.
Same for TMobile.
My question is: Aren’t all these alternative markets competing for the same space Handango has been in for years…with only moderate success? It seems to me that Apple is finding lots of success with its ‘captive marketplace’ approach – a repeat of the iPod/iTunes model. With a fanbase like Apple’s, maybe that’s no surprise. Similarly Google, with its more open model but heavy impact of Google’s name value, will be serving apps into the space it created. When you remove the industry’s two thought-leadership devices from the field, you’re left with the old-school, way-too-disjoint-and-fragmented market where every buy-button has to have a caveat near it advising where the app will and (mostly) will not work. It might also be said that such marketplaces will highlight the abysmal state of mobile phone software and, indeed, drive users to Apple and Google (and thus to those marketplaces). Therefore, in my mind, these alternative marketplaces don’t have a bright future.
Incidently, and in a tip-of-the-hat to professional journalism, Wired Magazine has covered this topic, albeit less extensively, here.
Granted, we’re early days with this marketplace, but frankly, it’s great to see applications other than games in the Top 10, though it’s depressing to see Pac-Man Mobile in the #1 slot. The leadership of gaming in this industry continues to point to immaturity, in my opinion.
Personally, I’m particularly pleased with The Weather Channel’s namesake application. ShopSavvy, also here on the Top 10 list, is also a great use for one’s mobile phone (though, it is sometimes difficult to get connectivity inside large shopping facilities).
By the way, if you’re a fan of QR codes (we are!) find the Barcode Scanner application in the Shopping section of the Market. It recognizes QRs and will “do the right thing” when you photograph one.
We should keep in mind that the Android Market is not accepting paid applications until 2009. So, unlike the Apple iTunes App Store, we’re only seeing that portion of the market willing to give their applications away (either as a means to increase traffic to existing services or simply as a means of testing the waters).
Speaking of the iTunes App Store, Ben Lorica over at O’Reilly has some good articles about what’s happening in that marketplace. Quite a contrast there, compared to here in the Android space – at least in this nascent early-adopter period. Strange to find the social networking applications low on the App Store list, though.
Gizmodo’s been showing “leaked” images of what it claims is a Lenovo-branded Andoid-based mobile phone. This one’s got iPhone design sensibilities, unlike the HTC-built unit available from T-Mobile in the USA and this dandy from down-under.
North America was a bright spot, however, growing at 68% with Blackberry and iPhone devices totaling 70% of sales. In Europe, Apple made great progress – moving to number two behind Nokia. MacOSX is now the third most popular smartphone operating system worldwide. Windows Mobile is taking a beating – with numbers down 3% – another illustration of the importance of brand in the mobile marketplace.
An interesting side note: Gartner monitors smartphones from manufacturer HTC only on its own-branded devices. HTC meanwhile is the ODM for numerous other brands and for carrier-branded (predominantly) Windows Mobile devices (like the TMobile Wing). HTC also manufactures TMobileUSA’s G1 device, based on the Google Android operating system (which Gartner is not measuring as a separate category yet). One wonders where inclusion of these numbers would put HTC in the charts!