AppStores are the future! Or not?

July 22nd, 2009 by Arjan Olsder Posted in Analysis & Editorial | No Comments »

Hungrymobile Mobile companies around the world are trying to show us, that their AppStores are the best AppStores. Apple, Google, Nokia, Palm, Microsoft, and many other firms joined the AppStore hunt, and even mobile operators seem to be catching up slowly with preparations on similar launches. Now the question is, is this the future?

I came across a nice article in the Financial Times called – AppStores are not the future, says Google. And I do agree with many things said in the article, but I also agree with the gentleman from Nokia, who says, that there are ways to go around it. What always surprises me, that Nokia can quickly pull one of their assets from their pockets, and say, that they are working on it – in this case the Qt toolkit (wiki).

As described many times in my articles, I am not a fan of what is happening in the market in terms of diversification. To build a fully blown beautiful application for a client, you have to build it in 6 or so technologies, and for a worldwide roll-out? Well don’t even think about the costs asociated. Right now if you are able to roll-out a perfectly tested application globally, from the simplest concepts it will not be lower then 30 – 100 000 EUR for a couple platforms only, fully tested of course. Also, getting approved in all of these AppStores means waiting for some time.

Imagine you are building a branded application for a client, you have 20 000 EUR, and you have to build it on the best platforms, and launch it worldwide in 4 weeks. This is a typical requirement on the web – build it as cheap as possible, launch it ASAP! Now this as of right now is not possible. Maybe with the usage of a smart toolkit (maybe Qt?) and big testing, it might be potentially possible.

Google here says, that mobile browsers will get even stronger, and will be able to handle the heavier applications. From what I have been able to see, including on the side of Google is, that mobile browsers right now can’t handle the types of applications that I think should be launchable there. And embed flash lite is nearly impossible to handle, using touch as a form of handling a browser game for instance is nearly impossible, and the difference of so many devices means, that the development would take a while, without guaranteed results in the end.

It will be interesting to see this, if browsers will get stronger to carry the weight of heavier browser based applications, or if the way is to port to all platforms and handsets.

My opinion is, that like with the computer, there are specific segments, like instant messaging, calling, connectivity, etc. – which need proprietary applications. And then there is a second part, which doesn’t. It will all depend on browser capabilities, and phone capabilities combined. If the heavier apps will be possible in browsers, I incline to the browsers success for most applications, including document and presentation handling.

This post has been contributed by Jan Rezab from HungryMobile.com. Visit his site for more editorials on the mobile (games) market.

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    Arjan Olsder is the Vice President of Pixalon Studios. Opinions expressed on this publication do not have to represent those of Pixalon Studios.


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