There are four varieties of app stores: platform, operator, independent and manufacturer. This is a fragmented market with each store having its own strengths and weaknesses depending on the users’ point of view and specific requirements. This document aims to uncover the landscape of stores and where they currently stand.
Platform & Manufacturer Stores:
Apple App Store – The first and, currently, most successful store. With over 300,000 apps for the iPhone, iTouch and iPad, it has had over 7 billion downloads so far. All apps on this store are vetted by Apple for suitability, adherence to design standards and to keep the apps suitable. Apple take 30% of any income from the app.
Google Android Market – This store currently boasts 100,000 apps with 5,000+ being added weekly. It is an unregulated store so anything goes. This however means that as well as many good apps, there are also a fair amount of badly designed dross. Google take 30% of any income from the app.
Ovi Store – this is Nokia’s app store which has had 3 million downloads specifically for Nokia phones. Although the jury is still out on their new range of smartphones, Nokia’s huge installed base of Symbian devices mean that they’re still a force to be reckoned with. Watch this space.
BlackBerry App World – Specifically for BlackBerry devices, this store has around 16,000 apps and claims to have 20m phones in the market. No information on actual downloads but the devices don’t make it easy.
Windows Phone 7 Marketplace – Brand new store, currently has about 3,000 apps. Microsoft are positioning Windows Phone 7 as a more consumer-oriented platform so games are prominent. With Microsoft’s marketing might, expect this to grow rapidly.
Samsung App Store – App store specifically for Samsung devices which use Android or their own bada platforms. The store has only 800 apps and it claims 14 million bada apps have been downloaded so far.
Palm App Catalog – Now owned by HP, this store has just over 4,000 apps specifically designed for the Palm Pre. Palm Pre Plus and Palm Pre 2 in the pipeline.
LG Application Store – This store was launched in July 2009. Up until know, the store focused on Windows Mobile applications. At the moment, 2,969 content items are available.
GetJar – This is the second largest app store, after Apple, and is platform-agnostic. It claims it has over 55,000 apps across all the major handset platforms and manages 50m downloads per month. Downloading some apps, such as the iPhone apps, is a bit cumbersome, and some just don’t usroid work. It works for developers as there’s no fee or revenue share, it doesn’t keep download data a secret and it is mobile Web friendly.
Amazon – Not yet launched, the Amazon Android app store threatens to be everything Android Market isn’t. However in the pre-launch bumph Amazon states that an app can’t be sold for less anywhere else, and that the app can’t be on offer anywhere else for more than two weeks before it’s given to Amazon. The alleged T’s & C’s also states that Amazon has sole discretion to determine all features and operations of the apps and can set the retail price.
Handmark – This is an independent application store, like Getjar. It is available worldwide and features applications for multiple major platforms. The company supports a variety of desktop, mobile web, and client app stores, including its flagship Pocket Express news and information service and a downloadable app store for Windows Mobile devices.
Appitalism – Independent of any device or platform affiliations, Appitalism combines a social community with an online store to help consumers quickly and easily discover, discuss and download the best digital content. The site’s social features empowers members to collectively determine the best apps and content for every device.
Appitalism supposedly offers an unbiased and personalized experience for members based on their interests. Other independent app stores – The following stores are a mixed bag, wach with their own strengths: Handster, Mobango, PocketGear, SlideMe, Handango, AndAppStore
All operators are starting to see the importance of developing their own stores. In the UK Orange and Vodafone 360 already have them.
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