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.”
Microsoft has announced that an upcoming update for its Skype app for Windows Phone 8 will land this week bringing a number of amendments and restoring the People Hub integration which was recently suspended on pocket gadgets such as the Nokia Lumia 920.
A direct connection from Skype to the People Hub on Windows Phone was dropped in the January update meaning that users couldn’t initiate Skype calls or send messages from their contacts list and had to depend on the main app being open. The two months of down time has been so that Microsoft can fix some stability problems affecting use of this feature but now they are ready to reinstate it in this latest revision.
Elsewhere within the app, Skype introduces the ability to switch between portrait and landscape view when engaged in video calls and face-to-face chat can now be enjoyed in glorious HD.
Skype for Windows Phone 8 can be updated this week provided your currently used OS version is the up-to-date ‘Portico’ build and if you are yet to try the app it’s free to download from the Windows Phone Marketplace.
Microsoft’s new Windows 8 is still lacking some big name applications in its quest to offer an expansive and varied Store of apps. However, one gap has now been filled with the launch of an official Twitter app. Official apps from Twitter and Facebook are probably near the top of most Windows 8 users’ app wants, and Twitter has beaten Mark Zuckerberg and co. to the punch. As of today you’ll be able to download Twitter for Windows 8, for free, from the Windows 8 Store. As you might expect, the app follows the Windows 8 design ethos, being optimised for use with touchscreen devices like tablets and all-in-one desktops. The overall look is very minimal, with a swipe-out bar on the left giving access to the usual functions like Home, Connect, Discover and Me, and a large area in the centre for scrolling through your feed and expanding on tweets. The app makes the most of the fact that most Windows 8 devices will have large screens – at least 10-inches – and so tweets with attached images expand as you click a tweet to really take advantage of the extra screen real estate. Twitter for Windows 8 may not be ground breaking but it’s a welcome addition to the growing collection of apps on Microsoft’s new platform. If you prefer using apps to websites then this is definitely one to check out.