The Distimo Report is a monthly look at the five big application stores: Apple App Store, BlackBerry App World, Google Android Market, Nokia Ovi Store and Windows Marketplace for Mobile. This month’s report is based on December 2009 data, and has some interesting findings including:
- In Google Android Market, 65% of the publishers are located in the United States, 12% in the United Kingdom, 20% in Europe and 3% in Japan.
- Publishers located in Europe price their applications highest with an average of $4.42, which is 49% higher than publishers located in the United States.
- Applications in Apple App Store, Google Android Market and Nokia Ovi Store are priced at around $3.50. Windows Marketplace for Mobile and BlackBerry App World are more expensive, averaging $6.99 and $8.26 respectively.
- Because of Microsoft’s market validation guidelines and additional fees for distributing applications in more than one country, the number of applications available in some countries is only a small percentage (<5%) of applications available worldwide.
What’s also interesting out of this report is a comparison between the top rated paid applications in the Apple App Store versus BlackBerry App World. I like comparing iPhone and BlackBerry, because they’re the most relevant for North Americans. Sure, Nokia sell the most devices worldwide, but as smartphone manufacturers they just don’t interest me.
From the list, it’s clear that BlackBerry users are more interested in paying for apps that complement the BlackBerry user experience, and customizing the device as much as possible. There isn’t a single paid game on the top 10 list, and the apps are geared towards either improving your BlackBerry or your life. Since this is based on December 2009 data, I would like to see how January and February will look as themes gain more traction. Since it’s clear BlackBerry users are into customization and improving the user experience, two themes which a theme can do, I suspect they’ll begin to dominate the list.
The top paid apps in the App Store are exactly how you would imagine them to be given the constraints on an iPhone and the focus on visually rich and fun apps. Games completely dominate the platform and there isn’t anything in the top 10 geared towards productivity or lifestyle
In terms of free applications, there seems to be a similar trend, but users tend to like the same apps when price is not a factor.
Media and content apps seems to be a big player in the free section of App World. This makes sense as these apps generally rely on an ad-based model that allows the user to get the content for free. It’s a little strange that RIM put BlackBerry Messenger on the list, but at least it shows that App World is still effective at distributing core BlackBerry apps.
Again, games dominate the iPhone top 10 free section. Number 6 is an app called Beautiful Boobs, and it makes you wonder if this sort of thing would be allowed in App World. During the Themes webinar, I asked RIM if they would allow adult content themes on App World and the answer was something like “no for now but not never.”
It’s not that one platform is absolutely better than the other, but it’s clear that both platforms are lacking what the other supplies. The iPhone has a total lack of customization and ability to provide the user with apps that help manage life’s most routine elements. This probably has a lot to do with the lack of a keyboard and the ability to run apps in the background. BlackBerry lacks the ability to provide users with a truly fun experience. I know BlackBerry users would love to have cool games on their device, but we’re just not there yet. I’m sure in the next few years we’ll see these platforms start to come to a mid-point, driven by the app economy.