Worth a look: some predictions for the mobile world in 2012 from GetJar founder and CEO Ilja Laurs. Ilja knows a thing or two about the mobile app space; he founded GetJar in 2004, when mobile apps meant mostly Java apps (delivered as .JAR files, hence the name) for feature phones, plus some apps for the dominant smartphones of those pre-iPhone days: Nokia/Symbian, Windows, and Blackberry.
I don’t agree with all of these predictions, but a few of them seem to be spot on. The most interesting items for me are at the bottom of the list: “Paid apps continue to fade out” and “Mass migration to cloud“. I think these are related. News and information apps are already dependent on data from the “cloud”; the app mostly renders them in a convenient and pleasing way. As the number and variety of screens increases, I expect service-based apps to get more “cloudy” as well.
This has become clear to me ever since I got my Kindle Fire in December. I now move back and forth among phone, tablet, and desktop, and want to use the same apps and services from every screen. Products like Evernote and Astrid can meet that need, as they are available on all of those devices, in web (Chrome) and native forms.
So what does this have to do with paid apps? When apps and web apps expose cloud-based data, it makes less sense (to me at least) to charge for the app itself. After all, the app doesn’t have intrinsic value; the service and data do. As Ilja predicts, this suggests a move away from charging for the app (on every device!) to charging for or otherwise monetizing the the data or service, through ad-based and/or subscription-based models.
Please let me know what you think!