The smart phone revolution is one of the biggest technological breakthroughs since the wide spread adoption of the internet in the 1990’s. The utility of the internet has changed dramatically since mobile phones began connecting to the web as smart phones continue to look more and more like an alternative to PCs rather than an addition. The entry of information technology giants like Apple and Google into the smart phone business reveals the potentiality of the business. The apps industry as an explosive business force is by now an old story, but just to put it in perspective, we’re probably not far from seeing the profit from selling smart phone apps actually eclipses the profits from selling the handsets themselves.
The smart phone application business has also changed the way companies get their products and brand name out by allowing a blend of free and paid for apps. Approximately 25% of all Apple apps are downloadable free to the users, including a couple of big name, popular social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and instant messengers Windows Live and Skype.
Google Android Market offers a whopping 57% of the apps for free. Investigative market experts like Distimo have provided a plausible explanation for the large spread between Google and Apple – only developers in a fraction of the countries where Android is available can distribute paid apps on the platform. However, experts believe the huge gap will close as the Android market matures.
The marketing research specialists of the juggernaut app industry have been wailing about the explosive growth of the business. It is estimated that the revenues from the American smart phone paid-for apps market may exceed $4 billion by 2013, with those estimations being admittedly modest. The list and categories of applications for these smart phones is virtually endless with Apple having a reported 150,000 total apps available from the App Store. Not surprising, considering the casual and leisure nature of those who use smart phones, games is topping the chart of most downloads, followed by books, entertainment and social networking.
At the top of the paid download social networking charts, you’ll find GTX Corp’s GPS Tracking Apps within the top ten consistently. Combined with the limited free version which is sponsored through advertising, the GPS Tracking Apps have been downloaded over 650,000 in 91 countries.
As more and more in demand and usable technology continues to be branded and packaged in app form and sold across market platforms, the line that defines popularity between the free and paid for app becomes increasingly blurred. On one end you have a GPS Tracking App for $3.99 that can be a sincerely useful tool in locating and tracking your family and friends. On the other hand, the entertainment app segment, what I would closely refer to as the “people actually want this? Segment”, is holding steady. This week, it’s being reported that Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino has an app out that features a “GTL finder” – a GPS enabled program that locates a gym, a tanning bed, and laundry locations around you – for $4.99.
The conclusion? Free apps paved the way for demand and interest from users in the app market, but in the end, whether it’s an app that serves as a handy and easy way to locate friends and family in a moment or an app that allows you to overdose on Jersey Shore-mania, the paid-for apps will forever dominate and the companies that positioned themselves early on and now have numerous apps in the market with a pipeline of more to come will be at the forefront of what many operators are calling the next “Gold Rush!”
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