No more apps, please

The latest research from ComScore reveals what may be obvious if you think about it: you don’t really want any more apps on your smartphone. One top finding in the report (covered in Slate, Quartz, and probably many other places) is that 65% of smartphone owners in the US downloaded zero apps in a given month. People still spend plenty of time using mobile apps, but that usage is focused on a small number of very popular ones (which you can probably name). Looking at the stats on the share of time spent on various apps, once you’re past Facebook, Pandora, YouTube, and Instagram, no app cracks the 3% barrier (except SnapChat for the 18-24 set).

These data on the concentration of app usage, and the lack of attention to new apps, mirror the findings in the latest VisionMobile developer survey, which looks at mobile apps from the supply side, as it were. Their survey of over 10,000 app developers found that “the majority of app businesses are not sustainable at current revenue levels.” Furthermore,

50% of iOS developers and 64% of Android developers are below the ‘app poverty line” of $500 per app per month. 24% of developers interested in making money earn  nothing at all. A further 23% make less than $100 per app per month.

It’s not surprising that the mobile app market is like so many other media markets: music, movies, books: a very small number of huge hits, followed by a very long, and mostly ignored, tail.


Mobile diary: mobile in Arlington

I’m still very happy with my Nexus 7 tablet, which I bought several months ago. When I’m not using it to play Candy Crush, I can use it for most of my browsing and media consumption needs. It’s also a great companion on my music gigs.

This morning, I had an opportunity to try out the Nexus in more of an enterprise mode, when I had to dial in to our daily developer call from the auto dealership, where I was waiting for my car. I connected to the Android GoToMeeting app from the tablet and was able to participate in the call from the comfort of the waiting area. Very smooth!



Mobile Diary: the keyboards are back!

The new Blackberry CEO, John Chen, plans to focus on devices with physical keyboards in the future. This from an article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, reporting on an interview with Chen at CES.

Chen said “I personally love the keyboards,” and will be more aggressive in promoting that now-unique feature of Blackberry smartphones, starting with a patent infringement suit against the Blackberry-like Typo Keyboard, which was announced at CES.

Happy to see that Mr. Chen is taking my advice

Not so mobile diary: Vinyl is back!

WP_20131109_001This is not a mobile story as such, but worth noting anyway. According to Digital Music News, vinyl records seem to be back, at least among a small section of the music buying public. What’s more, it’s not the older folks (like me) buying those big plastic disks:

Michael Kurtz, [Record Store Day]’s co-founder, told USA Today that RSD vinyl sales are trending younger. In 2007, the average customer age was 49, now it is 23.  Kurtz also estimates that customers under 25 are buying 70 percent of the vinyl, saying: “It’s the young generation’s thing. They’ve adopted it“.

I remember hearing from the user experience team at Vodafone that their goal for any mobile app or service was something like “5 seconds to enjoyment.” Our assumption in the mobile world was always that customers want more stuff, more quickly and conveniently. It’s interesting to see this evidence of at least some desire for slower, and perhaps higher-quality, experiences. Slow food, meet “slow music”?

Mobile diary: Good luck Jolla!

The new smartphone from Jolla launches today in Finland. Jolla was founded by a bunch of ex-Nokians with a plan to execute on the MeeGo vision that Nokia abandoned in favor of Windows Phone. Their new device runs SailfishOS, the community-driven successor to MeeGo.

jolla_026_dOne thing I find particularly appealing about the Jolla proposition is their proud embrace of their Finnish roots and Finnish designs with the “Design from Finland” mark granted by the Suomalaisen Työn Liitto, the Association for Finnish Work. I always thought that Nokia could have made more noise about its Finnish (or generally Nordic) design when it was trying to compete with the other smartphone players.

Another extremely smart move was to add support for Android apps to the OS, and partner with the Russian Yandex app store to provide Jolla users with access to 85,000 apps from the Android ecosystem.

Good luck Jolla!

Mobile diary: Windows is still in the game

According to some recent data, Windows still has promise as a mobile developer platform, and is seeing growing developer interest. Microsoft and Nokia are pursuing developers aggressively with a strategy that combines both carrots and sticks. In an interview in Bloomberg Businessweek. Nokia Global VP Bryan Biniak makes it clear that Nokia is happy to spend money to encourage app development, but also wants to make it clear that “Those who decline to build apps for Windows could lose valuable business from Microsoft and Nokia.” In other words, if your hotel app isn’t in the Windows store, over 100,000 Microsoft employees will make their reservations somewhere else, thank you.

What this means in concrete terms is that there’s finally a Vine app for Windows Phone, so I now have a new way to spend (i.e. waste) time with my Windows Phone.

Mobile diary: the view from over there

Thanks to QuirksBlog for this reminder that the mobile tech landscape isn’t the same all over the world. This survey of the Indonesian local browser market shows the importance of browsers that I expect most American mobile phone users (and mobile experts) have not heard of, or at least don’t take seriously.

Number one in Indonesia with about 56% of measured traffic: Opera (more specifically, the Opera Mini proxy browser).

You can find more fun data like these over at StatsCounter.