Mobile Apps and 2011 So Far

Gartner in its January 2011 report had predicted that in 2011 alone more than 17.7 billion mobile apps will be downloaded and mobile app store revenues will exceed $15.1 billion. Now by the end of first quarter of 2011 we are well on our way to this projected growth.

But along with this we have also witnessed some subtle but significant changes in the mobile apps world during 2011 so far. Let’s capture and go over these changes in brief.

Android & iOS Come Neck to Neck

Anyone who has been a part of mobile apps world knows that we have had Google and Apple butting heads over market share for quite some time now. Although Apple had the advantage of launching its intelligent phone first, Google soon caught up with Android. Today, Android is favored more as against iOS because of its open source policy.

Android’s seamless integration of Facebook and Twitter widgets has again done wonders for its popularity. It’s also easy to integrate an Android app with GPS, touch screen, and video camera.

Android’s software development kit (SDK) come along with some core applications. The SDK typically consists of handset emulator, debugging tools, utility functions, company functions, WiFi support, Bluetooth support, library of 2D and 3D supporters, and more. Such a rich SDK makes developer’s life easy and grants him greater control over the attributes of the final Android application.

All these things put together have made Android the preferred development platform for mobile app developers. Google further claims that it is activating 300,000 new Android devices every day on a global level. If this is really the case, then we pitch Android as the topper for 2012.

Shift of Focus from Consumer Apps to Enterprise Tools

Once again here Android steals the thunder from Blackberry. Android is slowly but certainly usurping Blackberry’s dominance over the enterprise mobile tools.

Motorola’s Droid Pro which allows access to Android Market storefront is giving Blackberry the run for its money. Droid Pro is already offering voice and data coverage across 200 countries, corporate email, unified calendar, data encryption, remote data wipe, security enhancements – pretty much everything that earned Blackberry the brownie points.

This also marks Android’s first foray into enterprise tools. Now that the door has been opened, we can expect a wave of corporate mobile tools to hit the market. The Android developers have already sensed this opportunity and are focusing on workforce management tools, fleet management tools, sales force automation tools, etc.

Now that Android has pulled the rug out right from under Blackberry’s feet, Blackberry will have to fight tooth and nail to regain its market position. Let’s see how Research in Motion’s intended migration from Blackberry 6.0 to Blackberry Tablet OS fare for the beleaguered platform.

Augmented Reality the New Reality

At the onset of 2011 augmented reality was limited to local search and reference-based applications. But by the end of first quarter of 2011, augmented reality has really turned the tables on conventional theories. It has taken over the world of gaming apps by storm.

But augmented reality has not limited itself to gaming only. Lined up in the pipeline are retail applications for mobile commerce, real-time information driven applications, and dynamic visuals based apps.

Rise in In-App Purchase

Quite frankly, market pundits were already rooting for in-app purchase to be popular in 2011. So there is nothing jaw dropping about it. What is noteworthy though is the rate at which in-app purchase is picking up. It is estimated that almost 80% of developer’s monthly revenue is derived from in-app purchases. It would be no surprise if in-app purchases surpass premium downloads by the next quarter.

So far 2011 has been really great for mobile app development. Given the current situation it’s hard to image mobile apps making a nosedive. What is certain though is the raging growth of mobile apps.