I think it’s a certainty that Apple will introduce an ad serving platform for the iPhone (and any tablet) in 2010. This will amount to a checkbox that developers will check when submitting their app to the store. Doing so will allow Apple to place ads on the app in return for a check in the mail to the developer for the impressions.
The common thread among the Android fans is that Google is the agent of disruption of a hated operator business model. Since disruption is well understood (though not by many) it is fairly easy to evaluate this hypothesis.
The problem with disrupting network operators is that disruption can only happen when the underlying service/product they provide becomes “good enough” i.e. more than what customers can absorb. A new basis of competition emerges and we all know what happens.
Here’s the problem: since mobile broadband is by all accounts not good enough, it cannot be disrupted. Operators are very critical in building out this new mobile computing future and they are investing and will reap rewards. Bitpipe models will only emerge after 4G when there will be ubiquitous high speed networks and competition will shift away from coverage and more to price and convenience of plans.
What is happening instead of operator disruption is that mobile voice which is more than good enough is being disrupted. Businesses built around mobile voice (e.g. handset vendors who have not developed a viable business model around data) will simply evaporate and their profits will condense around entrants who have mobile computing platforms.
Google is moving on this opportunity but they are not executing in a way that ensures they control the future platform due to the their being on the wrong side of the modular/integrated dichotomy.
Android will disrupt but I expect it will take 10 to 15 years. The life cycle of a new global network generation rollout is about 10 years. We’re in the middle stage of the 3G cycle that traces its beginnings to early this decade. 4G will take another 10 years.
More than half of the 3.5 million smartphones shipping to France this year should be iPhone variant, while Apple should account for about 20 percent of the entire cellphone market’s revenue. The company’s popularity will have helped smartphones as a whole more than double their share of France from 7 percent in 2008 to 16 percent this year.
A Google spokesperson confirmed for eWEEK that there are 16,000 Android free and paid apps, not 20,000 as others previously reported. (iTunes App store is around 120k now with over 130k apps having been “seen”).
A few more data points re. Android:
- There are 5 Android instantiations of varying distribution through the first two weeks of December: 1.1, 1.5, 1.6, 2.0 and the fresh 2.0.1. It seems Google is prepared to see that number go much higher. You can see the distribution of platform versions in a pie chart here:
- If a developer chooses only the most popular platform version, he gets to target about 54% of the installed base.
- Motorola’s Droid ships with only 256 MB available for app storage. Google Android does not support installation of apps to SD cards, so developers face a very real limit. Many of the most popular iPhone apps (games) easily exceed 100 MB, so not very many quality apps would fit on Droid (and some won’t fit at all: Magellan RoadMate app ($59.99) alone weighs in at 1.36GB). That’s why Droid only offers users three measly panels for displaying apps; users probably won’t even be able to fill up two before they run out of storage space.
Droid comes with a built-in turn-by-turn app Google’s Maps Navigation likely because no other nav app would come close to fitting into the Droid’s limited 256MB app storage space.
One observer has posted that WMM (Microsoft’s answer to iTunes App Store) has 520 apps in it now. The store launched in Nov 1 with 281 apps. That means there will be about 300 apps added in the first two months. The growth rate is therefore about 150/mo.
This has to be the slowest growing app store among all the contenders, though Palm may also be similar.
By way of comparison, iTunes App Store is growing at about 10k apps/mo. with Android about 3 to 5k/mo.
How does this make sense coming from the company that is known for “developers, developers, developers” and is the largest software company in the world?