Tag: handango

The Next Wave in the Mobile App Economy: Distribution, Sophistication, Payments and Identity

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The Next Wave in Mobile App Commerce
Moving from rivers of monetization to lakes of commerce exchange [click to enlarge]

EDITOR’S NOTE: Terry Hughes, former President of Widality, is Wmode’s as Head of Market Development. Be sure to check out his past editorials too.

The mobile app market is maturing nicely; apps are becoming more sophisticated, routes to market are broader, development times have been greatly reduced, there is a plethora of billing options available, and perhaps most valuable, apps have moved from being the domain of a few niche players to being a critical part of the branding and engagement strategy of most companies. In this sense, the mobile software market has started to resemble the PC software market with a few key platforms to worry about, standardized development tools, and open APIs to enable the many parties in the value chain to connect together.
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PocketGear Relaunches As Appia And Exits Direct-to-Consumer Market

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appia

PocketGear has recently grown with the acquisition of Handango and now they’re pivoting the company in a pretty radical direction. PocketGear is not only rebranding itself as Appia, but it’s changing the business model to be a white label commerce and content platform for major brands, carriers, OEM, and handset manufacturers who want to set up an app store. By focusing on this niche market, Appia will probably do a good job of helping developers navigate the carrier decks, but you have to wonder whether these channels are relevant in light of ubiquitous manufacturer app stores.

Coming out of the gate, here’s what Appia considers its main advantage over others in the space:
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BlackBerry Partners Fund Invests in PocketGear with Potential App World Benefits

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The BlackBerry Partners Fund has announced a $15 Million Series B funding in PocketGear, led by Trident Capital. PocketGear bills itself as world’s largest cross platform, open app store and content marketplace, after its acquisition of Handango.

PocketGear, Handango, and Mobihand are all part of a similar business model to sell software outside of the carrier and manufacturer channels and it’s a business that seems increasingly risky given that RIM, Apple and the big players are in the space as well. While PocketGear competes with App World, the investment could benefit the company if they can bring PocketGear’s relationships into App World. PocketGear has access to over 32,000 developer relationships and more than 140,000 paid and free titles.

More information available from the press release.

PocketGear Acquires Handango to Become Largest App Store

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handango_pocketgear

Handango have been on a downward slope for some time now as most of the bigger sites signed up with Mobihand, and carriers are taking app store development in-house. I assume the company must have been close to bankruptcy and PocketGear came in and acquired them. Now PocketGear supports 2,000+ mobile devices, every major OS, with 140,000+ paid and free titles.

Considering the market, I can’t imagine PocketGear is in much of a better position. I’m not even sure about Mobihand’s ability to stay relevant over the long term, let alone PocketGear which is bloated with apps that will never sell. In general, I think the market is going to continue to trend towards the carriers and manufacturers fighting for market share, with a few independent stores getting whatever they can.

The Three Rounds of the App Store Battle

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App_Store_App_World_Beyond

The mobile app market is maturing fast and as a developer with a successful app in App World, I wanted to prompt some debate on what the next wave of app stores will be like and how we can work together to get there.

Round 1 was started by Handango, and quickly followed by Handmark and MobiHand among others. Their global presence enables developers to deploy once and see their app appear on the Internet and on multiple carrier and affiliate sites. However, download volumes, on-device discoverability and ease of payment were historically poor. Interestingly, none of them (apart from GetJar) focused on free apps. Meanwhile, the carriers were rolling out their own app stores where the majority of downloads were ringtones, screensavers and games, but that was valuable because it educated their customers that downloading apps was possible. In summary, round 1 was the “for profit” app stores. As developers, we have a lot to thank those pioneers for.
Continue reading Widality President Terry Hughes’ take on the App Store evolution

Lessons for App World from existing BlackBerry content providers

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WES 2009
Photo courtesy of Nan Palmero.

Here at WES 2009 there is a lot of talk about App World. While it is an evolutionary step for RIM and BlackBerry, third parties have been providing content to early adopter BlackBerry users for years. To understand how RIM can improve App World, we can look to existing portals for tips. Handango, Mobihand and Handmark are some major portals, while companies like Bplay are offering BlackBerry content as well.

One of the first things you’ll notice about App World, and we’ve been hearing a lot of complaints about this, is the marriage to PayPal. Third party app vendors offer a wide range of payment methods and RIM should do the same. Ideally, we would see carrier billing, but more on that later.
Continue reading about improvements App World could make