A recent report on malware from mobile service provider NQ Mobile highlights that in 2012 malware threats on mobile platforms grew 163%. This comprised of more than 65,000 identified distinct forms of app repackaging, malicious URLs and SMS phishing. 95% of all the attacks were geared towards Android devices which is normally seen as the platform of choice for malware.
Malware threats and more elaborate attacks are only likely to increase according to NQ. One of the more concerning malware attacks uses an Android device as a launch platform when connected to a computer via USB, enabling it to infect a far greater number of hosts. In a recent release, NQ Mobile co-CEO Omar Khans said that what’s needed is a system that can detect threats in advance of infection and prevent them, something that so far hasn’t really been widely available.
According to NQ Mobile’s report in excess of 32.8 million Android devices were infected in 2012, this is an increase of over 200% on 2012. This figure does need to be put in to context in relation to the explosion in mobile devices over the course of the last year. According to ABI Research there will be in excess of 798 million active Android devices by the end of 2013 compared to 300 million from early 2012.
The iOS platform does suffer from infection but on a much lower scale mainly due to the strict review process that all apps have to pass through before being allowed in to the App Store. Some still do get through but mainly these are apps that are leaking more personal data than is strictly required for the app to operate.
www.appdevelopersuk.com have put together some handy tips that will help to protect your mobile devices from unwanted malware.
- Before downloading apps make sure that they are from a reputable source.
- Always be wary of downloading an app that has no user rating or poor user ratings.
- Read the user reviews before downloading.
- Popular apps are frequently cloned so make sure you are installing the app that originates from the company that developed the app in the first place. If in doubt Google.
- Be suspicious of tapping links in emails even if they are from friends.
- Never click links from that are sent from unknown SMS senders.
- If running an Android device look in to installing an anti virus app like AVG Mobile or Norton.
Recent figures from Canalys show that in Q1 2013 the four top app stores worldwide accounted for 13.4 billion app downloads and $2.2 billion worth of paid apps and in-app purchases. On the face of it, it would appear that the Google Play Store is running away with the race posting 51% of all downloads but this is only half of the story. Downloads originating from Apple’s App Store account for 74% of all revenue generated at ($1.6 billion).
App store icons
These figures back up the advice that we give to clients at www.appdevelopersuk.co.uk when asked which platform they should develop for first. If the client plans to charge for the initial download of their app then they should seriously consider Apple as their preferred platform to give them the best chance of generating revenue.
In terms of growth the figures show an 11% growth compared to Q4 2012 in downloads and 9% in terms of sales showing strong appetite for downloading new apps and paying for those apps.
Although overall app numbers for Google Play and the Apple App Store top 500,000 each, Blackberry and Windows are languishing with around the 100,000 mark. This clearly demonstrates that app developers and their clients need further convincing that developing for Windows and Blackberry is a safe and sensible move and not a gamble.
Despite the challenges, and the not very encouraging numbers, Canalys still sees an opportunity.
“Apple’s App Storeand Google Play remain the heavyweights in the app store world,” writes Tim Shepherd, Canalys senior analyst. “In comparison, BlackBerry World and the Windows Phone Store remain distant challengers today, though they still should not be ignored.”
According to recent research by app analytics firm Flurry mobile device users spend 80% within native apps and only 20% on the web. They track usage on over 300,000 apps across 1 billion mobile devices. This equates to each user spending 158 minutes per day on their smart devices and of the total 2 hours 7 minutes is within apps and only 31 minutes in the web browser. The most startling fact is perhaps that Facebook accounts for 18% of all usage.
Here at www.appdevelopersuk.com we understand the benefits that native apps can bring over their web counterparts. Native means any app that is built specifically for an operating system such as iOS or Android and then usually downloaded via an app store. Native apps allow for more functionality incorporating features such as accessing the camera and sensors from within the app. Other major benefits include a nicer looking user interface and the ability to access the app and its features without needing a web connection, this is a huge plus if the user is in an area with a slow or non existent data connection.
Flurry also notes that consumers are now using and downloading more apps than ever before, launching 7.9 per day in final quarter of 2012 versus 7.5 per day in 2011 and 7.2 per day in 2010.
On the surface it would appear that native apps have all but won the battle but with HTML5 development advancing at a rapid rate with enhanced video playback capabilities and multiple platform compatibility, we would argue that the war is far from over. It is also important to note that both native and web apps are in their infancy so watch this space.