Wednesday, January 13, 2010

App Utility Across Smartphone Platforms May Be Equalizing

Craig Dalton over at Mplayit had an interesting post on his blog this morning highlighting some data his company just released from an activity survey of 42k visitors to their Facebook mobile discovery apps (e.g. iPhone Arcade) at the end of 2009. The company compiled the favorite apps of users across 3 smartphone platforms (iPhone, Android & BlackBerry) in 6 key content categories (excluding games)... and the results (see above) were remarkably similar. Craig's thesis is that, in terms of utility (in these categories), the platforms are beginning to approach parity for users. I think he might be on to something. Furthermore, reading this raised a question in my mind about a challenge the iPhone ecosystem may be beginning to face: At what point does the shear volume of Apps, many of them free and/or crap, on iTunes begin to make the platform less attractive to time constrained users who want to maximize the utility derived from their device? In other words... at what point is too much selection a bad thing? Let me know what you think.


  1. Agree with Craig. We've been discussing the potential consequences of "overchoice" on the iTunes App Store for the past year and you are definitely seeing customer behavior trends on the App Store shift due to this phenomenon. More and more, App Store customers are not browsing beyond the featured apps and top 25 on the iPhone deck. IMHO this unwillingness to venture outside of the front page is due to the fact that any real sort of "window shopping" on the App Store--be it on the computer or the iPhone--has become an overwhelming and onerous task. This affects games and entertainment more than any of the other categories, as most people have something specific in mind when they are searching for other types of apps, such as navigation, reference, or utility apps. Apple hasn't come up with a good solution for this, though I am hopeful that some of the promotional apps, plus in the sandbox social/viral marketing will help this problem.

  2. That Craig Dalton is one sharp cookie, excellent piece!