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Platform Wars: How Competing App Stores Stack Up
Posted By Christina DesMarais On July 6, 2011 @ 10:27 am In Apps,Internet and Online Business,Smartphones and PDAs,Tablets and eReaders | 2 Comments
Considering the amount of hardware on the market, choosing a device can often have a lot to do with a mobile platform’s application ecosystem. As Wired’s Mike Isaac points out, over the past few years app markets have been springing up along with new hardware releases, all in varying states of maturity. Isaac compared the benefits and drawbacks of the top app stores, with the following observations.
Apple’s App Store. Known as the “walled garden,” Apple reviews every app submitted to its app store and requires developers to follow a seven-page list of strict guidelines to get an app approved. While that might be a pain for developers, it also means higher quality apps for consumers who love the fact that Apple now has more than 500,000 approved apps with more than 85,000 developers creating apps for the platform. For a developer, it means an app can get lost and have a hard time being seen by buyers.
Android Market. Even though Apple has a 10-year head start, Google has made staggering gains and now has more than 200,000 apps and supposedly 500,000 new device activations every day. Unlike Apple, there’s no vetting process for developers who want to submit apps and those apps can be available almost immediately. Android also allows the existence of app markets outside its own, which means you can install an app store provided by someone else. You can also transfer apps you download from a website to your Android device either via USB or by downloading the .APK file independently. All that said, developers are still having a hard time making money on their apps. Eighty percent of all paid applications in the Android Market are downloaded less than 100 times.
HP App Catalog. HP, which is revamping its App Catalog with the debut of the TouchPad, is an underdog with little choice in hardware models and only a tiny share of the smartphone market. HP is trying to court developers by playing up the “discovery” angle, meaning there’s more opportunity for a developer’s app to be seen. However, that also points to the fact that the catalog only contains about 8,000-plus webOS apps at the TouchPad’s launch.
BlackBerry App World. With only 3,500 apps the store is easy to navigate and gives the best opportunity for a developer’s app to be seen. This platform also supports PayPal payments so you don’t have to create a Google Checkout or iTunes account if you want to buy an app for your PlayBook. RIM also lets you access Google’s app markets, although has to approve an Android app first. In addition to a paltry selection, RIM has an entire back catalog of apps developed for its BlackBerry smartphones, none of which can be used on the PlayBook, which has its own problems: No native e-mail, calendar and contact apps are available.
Read more at Wired .
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URL to article: http://technology.inc.com/2011/07/06/platform-wars-how-competing-app-stores-stack-up/
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 Wired: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/06/app-ecosystems/all/1
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