Tag: app store

Smartphone research comparing iPhone and BlackBerry often flawed

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The research behind iPhone and BlackBerry comparisons that is making its way into the mainstream media is almost always flawed. The media loves to talk about the prolific nature of the iPhone and how technologically advanced its users are, while almost implicitly ragging on BlackBerry.

A recent study claims that iPhone owners are much more likely to download apps and get involved with social networking than their BlackBerry-owning counterparts.

The study shows that about 72% of iPhone users are likely to have downloaded at least 10 third-party apps, but 73% of BlackBerry users have picked up five apps or less. The researchers add that iPhone owners are more willing to buy their apps than BlackBerry owners.

When it comes to downloading third party apps, this study failed to recognize that bulk apps, shouldn’t be recognized as multiple applications. They are essentially the same app, templated and replicated by changing a few small pieces of data. This is where RIM shines in that App World isn’t filled with the same amount of useless garbage.

With regards to social networking, the researchers found that roughly 71% of Apple users have a Facebook account versus 44% of BlackBerry users. Twitter follows a similar trend with 26% for iPhone versus 15% for BlackBerry.

Social networking discrepancies is a demographics issue, not a device issue as the research implies. While BlackBerry is moving its focus to the consumer market, it still has years of enterprise users behind it and this could be skewing the numbers. In the end, we all know that the BlackBerry is an incredibly powerful social networking tool. Whether or not the older BlackBerry demographic is using these services is another matter.

One element of the research that I find particularly flawed, is the research that says 83 percent of users prefer apps that cost below $5. This is a consistent mistake that researchers make. They think that just because you have asked someone what they want to pay for something, that that information is somehow valuable. The truth is that everyone wants to pay the minimum, and if possible, get it for free. The reality of the situation is that if your app is well designed and provides a tangible benefit to the user, the $5 benchmark is meaningless. Just look at TetherBerry, it’s a $50 application that is one of Mobihand’s best sellers.

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Skype arrives on App Store - where is the BlackBerry client?

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Skype needs to get its public relations team aligned with their developers because there are some serious inconsistencies in what the we’re hearing from mainstream media and what is actually being delivered.

For example, on March 20th, 2009, The New York Times reported that Skype “will make its free software available immediately for Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch and, beginning in May, for various BlackBerry phones, made by Research in Motion.”

Yesterday, the Financial Post reported that Skype “is reportedly developing an app for the BlackBerry.”

If one had to guess, the delays are likely caused by changes in ownership at Skype. When these organizational changes happen, projects are sometimes put on hold and reevaluated. As you may remember, Skype was bought by a group of investors including the Canadian Pension Plan’s investing wing for almost $2 billion USD.

Skype, where is the BlackBerry app?

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Mobile gaming on the rise but where does BlackBerry falter?

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Regardless of how you may feel about the iPhone as a productivity or enterprise tool, it has done wonders for encouraging mobile software consumption and educating users about what is available to them.

Analysts are saying that the mobile games industry grew in North America by nearly 19 per cent in 2008, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers projects the market will grow from $858 million in 2008 to $1.3 billion in 2013.

Developers are having great success with mobile gaming in the App Store, but BlackBerry App World isn’t seeing the numbers just yet. Companies like Top Hat Monocle, are seeing excellent download rates in the App Store on their casual games such as Hopple, which has been downloaded more than 80,000 times.

So why doesn’t BlackBerry App World see similar success? Two factors stand out: hardware and marketing.
Continue reading about how RIM could help the BlackBerry gaming industry

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Lessons for App World: Keep your market open for developers

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Steven Frank, co-Founder of Panic, an iPhone and software development house, has recently posted saying he is quitting the iPhone. While his statements don’t reflect the views of the company as a whole, we’ve been seeing similar complaints from other popular developers. Om Malik of GigaOM is also frustrated with AT&T and Apple and vented his frustrations a couple of months ago.

“I’m furious with Apple and AT&T right now, with regard to the iPhone” says Steven. The removal of the Google Voice application was the final straw for him, as Apple has removed several third-party Google Voice apps that had passed the approval process, leaving developers having to refund customers who had misplaced anger about the removal.

RIM on the other hand is leaving developers very content. App World has left the Google Voice client available for download, regardless of how it may compete with future native software, or what AT&T may think of the client. The software dictates the smartphone in many ways, and RIM understands that you need a flourishing developer community to drive innovation. Removing apps because they conflict with your internal strategy is going to do more long term harm than good.

According to Steven, it’s not that you should approve every single app, “it’s that rejected apps should be rejected for reasons that at the very least make consistent, logical sense, without garbage form-letter rejection notices that explain nothing, and with at least some sort of guidance available to the developer about how to fix the problem instead of meeting them with a brick wall.”

While Steven won’t be switching to BlackBerry, this is a crucial lesson for RIM and App World. While RIM has been known to reject applications based on branding (you can’t use “berry” in your app) and illegal community driven content, they are maintaining a relatively free marketplace. Let’s hope it stays that way.

[Steven Frank's post]

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The BlackBerry Cool Deal of the Day - 50% off great BlackBerry Software

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Starting today, you can find the Deal of the Day in the BlackBerry Cool Store.

To ring in this cool new feature, we’ve selected 10 outstanding products for the first 10 days. BlackBerry Cool readers will have the opportunity to buy a great app or theme – that day’s designated deal – at a 50% discount from either the new Desktop module or through the existing On Device App Store module.

The first set of Deal-of-the-Day offers include games/entertainment apps, themes, apps for improving personal productivity and performance enhancers for the BlackBerry. So there’s going to be something for everyone.

The First Deal of the Day

HD FutureX by Hedone Designs, is an innovative theme that tackles how to get more than 10 buttons on the home screen while still being wallpaper friendly. At first glance, you’ll see wallpaper displaying a blue sky and wheat-colored field. Hidden in the lower part of the screen are three boxes that each contain a hidden dock holding customizable icons. Hedone describes these as “15 in 3″ buttons. All of you need to know that this “natureful” theme is also quite functional and should be a welcome addition to any BlackBerry.

Normal Price is $6.99. Deal of Day price is just $3.50.

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App Store numbers are deceptive - beware of “bulk apps” RIM

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In a recent interview with RIM VP Jeff McDowell, it was brought up that App World had hit its 2,000th application. This may seem insignificant compared to the 40,000 applications in Apple’s App Store but there is a lot going on that is skewing the numbers.

While Jeff’s answer was good, saying “I don’t think it matters whether it’s 40,000 or 2,000, you’ve still got a broad range of choice,” there is something deceptive going on that should have been exposed during the interview.

Apple’s App Store, to put it simply, is bloated with “bulk apps.” These are template-based applications sold at the same price point with the same look and feel but different content. These applications are responsible for the spike in applications added to Apple’s App Store during the first six months of 2009, according to a new study published by hybrid location system developer Skyhook Wireless.

According to Skyhook, the App Store, which now has over 65,000 applications, added thousands of 99-cent bulk apps during the first half of the year. One unnamed developer, sells more than 850 travel applications based on the same template, with each individual app swapping out content based on specific vacation destinations. These mass-produced local search and travel guide apps now account for around one third of total iPhone LBS apps, Skyhook adds.
Continue reading about the deceptive numbers behind the App Store

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Lessons learned from App Store to help sell your software

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Apple App Store

A recent article in the WSJ points to success factors for developers with software in Apple’s App Store which could serve as great tips for BlackBerry developers in App World as well.

As App World and the App Store become increasingly cluttered with applications, developers are finding new and innovative ways to gain exposure for their software and push their products to the top.

Tip # 1 - Constantly experiment with price points

PopCap Games Inc., maker of the popular Bejeweled puzzle game, experimented in June by cutting the price on its Peggle game from to 99 cents from $4.99 for four days. Peggle, which had been ranked at around 60 in top paid apps, shot up to second place within 24 hours.

There are a variety of reasons why it’s important to experiment with pricing points. While one dollar may not seem like a lot of money, it could be just the right discount that your customer base needs. Also, discounts are news and news means more exposure. By lowering your prices, users will take notice and the news spreads virally, thus further helping downloads. PopCap has not commented on revenue, but said that sales during the discount period increased 20 to 25 times the previous volume.
Click through for tips and lessons learned that will help developers sell more software

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