updated 02:20 pm EDT, Thu November 3, 2011
Strategy Analytics says app market uncompetitive
Apple's iPad currently has the most competitive mobile app ecosystems, Strategy Analytics outlined in a new App Store Competitive Index. Its subset of the App Store is deemed the most likely to give newcomers and recent launches the best chances at success. Amazon's Appstore was lowest-ranked and more likely to let apps occupy the same positions or otherwise take attention from newer titles.
The iPhone and iPod, Android Market, and BlackBerry App World sat in between.
The victory was still a slight one and underscored the problems with current mobile app stores, researchers said. With just a 10 percent spread between the iPad and Amazon, most stores were still showing some of the same symptoms. A decision led primarily by Apple to ease mobile app development has created a corrosive effect where it becomes too difficult to keep developing. Strategy Analytics predicted a shakeout where only the biggest developers could afford to stay.
"Unfortunately, the democratization of the app distribution process has also had an unintended consequence -- crowning kings and queens that reign over the top 100 lists for long periods of time," the analyst firm said. "Many developers filling the virtual aisles today are unable to make a living selling apps, and they will ultimately stop developing or leave platforms altogether."
Most mobile app platforms have been undergoing major redesigns to try and improve discovery and the chances that a smaller app will break through. Regardless, the market so far has still been dominated by a few companies, ranging from majors like Facebook and Twitter through to relatively small but very successful independents such as Angry Birds developer Rovio or Cut the Rope's Zepto Lab. Some have pointed to smaller platforms like Windows Phone as potential advantages, since their low app counts and small user bases make it much easier to stand out with a breakthrough title.