The success of Android in the mobile market may be one of Google's biggest accomplishments outside of search, and it may be crucial to the company's long-term success generally.
But when it comes to ecosystems, Android still lags well behind Apple, which has built the mother of all ecosystems around iOS.
The question for Google: why is that?
According to a new survey conducted by MTV Networks (MTVN), a whopping 83% of mobile app users say they're addicted to their apps. For obvious reasons, that's good news for companies participating in the still-rapidly growing app economies built around Apple iOS and Google Android.
But of course, not all apps are successful. In fact, another new study shows that nearly a third of the Android apps released on Android Market have disappeared.
Mobile is here to stay, and publishers are eager to embrace it, even if figuring out how to is not an easy task.
Thus far, publishers have focused much of their effort on building native mobile apps, and it's no surprise why: mobile apps are being downloading at a frantic pace.
According to a recent report by IHS Screen Digest, the top four mobile app stores may generate close to $4bn in revenue this year, and ABI Research has forecast that by 2016, consumers will download 44bn mobile apps.
Last week, Apple delivered another tremendous quarter to Wall Street,
and it also delivered a tremendous firestorm in the form of a
highly-public revelation that the iPhone and iPad store location data in an
unencrypted file. The data from this file can be used to effectively
retrace the steps their owners have taken.
The billion-dollar question: do consumers really care? Or, more
specifically, do consumers really care enough to trade in their smart
phones for dumb phones that do less?
According to comScore, iOS mobile devices captured 25% of the market in
February 2011. That's up only slightly from November 2010, despite the
introduction of the iPhone on Verizon's network.
On the other hand, iOS' biggest
competitor (in the eyes of many), Google's Android, has grown 7% since
November 2010, and now commands 33% of the smart phone subscriber market
in the United States.
As venture capitalist Fred Wilson sees it, this is solid proof that everyone should be focusing on Android over iOS.
Google has accomplished a lot in the mobile space thanks to its mobile operating system, Android, but when it comes to building a platform that developers want to develop for, Android still lags behind Apple.
Unlike Google, Apple has thrived at building an ecosystem in which consumers not only use applications, but purchase them.
If a new startup called Color has its way, photo sharing will never be the same. The company is creating a completely smart phone-based 'social network' of sorts for photos, but instead of focusing on people, it's focusing on location, a concept some have likened to Twitter-for-pics.
Interesting? Maybe. Innovative? Questionable. But Color is already attracting lots of attention having already raised $41m before launch. Color's backers include notable investors,
including preeminent venture capital firm Sequoia Capital.
Statistics from Debenhams provide further evidence of the value of mobile commerce to retailers, with its iPhone app bringing in £1m in sales in five months.
Following the early success of the iPhone app, Debenhams is now releasing apps for Android and Nokia devices.
Mobile applications have taken off in the past several years. Thanks in large part to the rise of the iPhone, millions upon millions of consumers treat their mobiles like computing devices. It's a trend that nobody expects to slow anytime soon.
But despite the rapid growth of mobile apps, when it comes to app sales, there's good news for everyone in the mobile ecosystem: the best is yet to come.
It's no surprise that Amazon is launching an app store for Android. The ecommerce giant has come a long way since it started selling books online. Today, Amazon is rapidly evolving into a content company. And mobile apps are already a big part of the digital content business.
But despite Amazon's brand and size, there's no guarantee that it will become a successful player in the mobile app space. Apple is the 800 pound gorilla, and history isn't exactly conclusive when it comes to Amazon versus Apple. While Amazon's Kindle seems to be holding its own with the iPad, its MP3 store has hardly put a dent in the success of iTunes.