Topic: Mobile Apps
| Author: | Date: July 30, 2009
In brief: App stores are hot, but what are the challenges and where is the opportunity? This analysis draws from a variety of sources – including a recent Airwide Solutions survey, an exclusive interview with Vodafone UK’s Jonathan Kelly, and a thought-provoking post from Alfred DeRose, Co-founder & Managing Director of Tego Interactive, a Web and mobile product and services company providing development and integrated solutions for the needs of major brands, content publishers and mobile network operators – to provide some practical answers.
App store frenzy? That’s what comes across when you connect the dots in the raft of recent announcements. Mobile operators ranging from U.S. mobile operator Verizon Wireless (which has borrowed a page from parent company Vodafone to launch a carrier-wide app store based on Java ME that can target more than one device) to China Mobile (which tells TelecomAsia.net that it’s moving full-steam ahead on its Mobile Market app store where it plans to take 50 percent cut of app sales revenues) are jockeying for position and a piece of the action.
Interestingly, much of the operator excitement centers on the new mobile advertising opportunity app stores represent. As Jonathan Kelly, who heads up Vodafone UK Marketing, recently told me in a briefing: “I see some quite interesting opportunities in apps and widgets. A likely scenario could involve a sponsored widget, where the brand actually works with us to create a widget or application that we then prominently place in our app store.”
Beyond that, Jonathan sees other opportunities around actually embedding advertising within a widget. “You could have some sort of utility widget that’s providing weather, and there’s no reason why certain relevant companies may not wish to have some advertising embedded within that.”
At the other end of the spectrum, Apple’s App Store, RIM’s BlackBerry App World and Android’s Marketplace may have been the first to the party, but they have company. The recent JavaOne conference kicked off its annual convention by opening the doors of the Java App Store, a global marketplace for Java apps headed by Sun Microsystems. It comes on the heels of other app store news elsewhere in the industry including Nokia’s launch of the Ovi app store, a storefront offering available in Australia, Singapore, Spain, Italy, Germany, Russia, Ireland and the U.K, offering 20,000 titles (a fraction of which are apps) to an estimated 50 million Nokia devices globally.