Thursday, August 18, 2011

The app bubble

A few days ago, I wrote a post entitled "App stores and markets, by the numbers" where I recounted that five months after having gotten an Android phone

"... I have downloaded over 100 apps in five months (some came pre-installed but have updated by me so they count as a download). This  puts me above the iOS user average. I have browsed through maybe 1,500 apps in five months. Lately, I just check the top and trending app charts. I have not seen more than 1% of the apps on the Android Market, and the number I have tried is about 1 app in every 2,500 available.

I have kept 47 of the apps I downloaded, of which 42 came from the Android Market, four from the HTC Hub and one from Gameloft. My biggest source of Apps is from Google itself with twelve of my apps being developed by Google. 

Of my 47 apps, after checking, I really have never used nine of them except to try them a decide that I might need it sometime in the future."

Apparently, my limited use of apps is well above that of the average Android user. Ryan Kim of GiGaom writes:

"Android users have about 250,000 apps to choose from but most have little use for any of them outside the top 50. x x x  the top 10 Android apps account for 43 percent of the time spent on all mobile apps by Android users. And when you look at the top 50 apps, 61 percent of the time spent is on these apps. That means that if you’re an app maker on Android, you’re facing long odds at being used if you’re even in the bottom half of the top 100. And if you’re lost among the rest of the 249,550 apps, good luck getting any usage."

While Ms. Kim has no similar data on Apple users, when you consider that the 2.5 billion US dollars in revenue Apple boast as having paid to its developers, divided among 300,000 apps (the Apple App stores has 425,000 apps but about 20-30% are free), is an average profit to developers of below US$9,000 per app. Some app developers are earning in the millions, so for the rest, lets just say it is not enough to quit your day job.

With everyone getting into it, I wonder if this is the next internet bubble which will burst. Well for many developers at least.

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