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Developer Economics 2011

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Category: Microsoft
Published Date Written by Jason Loo

Developer Economics 2011

Published June 2011 by VisionMobile

Recently, I had a chance to read an extensive report on the state of the mobile apps ecosystem in 2011. The contents are still reflective of the current state today.That's why I want to share some important points :

1. Developer mindshare
- how developer perceives each mobile platform and their willingness to continue supporting apps in the platform.
- Mobile web is definintely on the fast track followed by iOS and Android.
- Windows Phone is still lagging due to lack of positive perception from consumers. However, it will be interesting when the next update (Apollo) after Mango is launched.
- Symbian and Java ME platforms is seeing high abandonment rates
- Multi-platform development is on the rise.

2. Revenue and cost
- Only a third of survey respondents make less than USD 1,000 per app.
- Revenue comes from both corporate monetization and direct. Top revenue model for direct monetization is pay-per-download, followed by advertising and freemium.
- Platform revenue potential - iOS tops the chart followed by Java ME, BB, Android and mobile web.

3. App stores
- Exclusive distribution via each platform brings double-edge sword. Majority of developers prefer developer and distribute their app via each app store but the process of development and certifying the app might become a tedious process if the app is intended for multiple platforms.
- App stores are able to reach more customers than previous app distribution channels.
- Fragmentation is fast becoming the 'in' word which results different business models and costs for distribution of apps.

4. Developer segmentation
- Developers can be hobbyists, start-ups etc.
- Developers from Mobile/PC/Internet are not attracted to develop.
- Market balance - Android platform is adopted by developers across Europe, North America and Asia.

5. Building mobile apps
- Learning curve proves to be a conumdrum for some developers especially for mobile web.
- Fragmentation; Blackberry and Java ME shows greatest amount of fragmentation
- Localization; development of regionally sensitive apps is a challenge
- Cloud APIs; iOS, mobile web and Android developers are most active users of cloud APIs.
- Multi-screen; Not only smartphones and tablets, developers are also aiming for smart TVs and set-top boxes.

6. Branding
- Top companies are building awareness through online channels
- Conundrum in targeting devices that is most frequently bought and used by consumers
- Priorities; market penetration and reach across customer base is the core challenge for companies going mobile. Cross-platform tools are available e.g. RhoMobile and PhoneGap