41 thoughts on “Will There Be an Android App Boom Soon?”

  1. Allow me to voice my dissenting opinion, that has precedent…

    Google is the world’s biggest anti-local app advocate there is, so “no” there will not be an Android app boom.

    It was Google that brought you Gmail and Google Docs, *web apps* that usurp locally installed Outlook and Office. Short of the creation and mandatory local install of “AdSense for Android”, Google does not benefit from the return to last decades ( bad ) habit of everyone installing their own closed version of an application.

    Evidence of the Android app marketplace being a mere stall tactic until the HTML5 spec is finished;

    1 – Using your Android phone, open Gmail using Android’s browser ( Chrome ). Notice it is much more functional than the locally installed app. The mobile web app version of Gmail supports both HTML5 and Gears, offers nearly all the features of Gmail proper.

    2 – Google employee Jeff Sharkey’s full time job is to develop Oil Can, and Android scripting method that makes the browser as powerful, if not more so, as any locally installed application. Oil can combined with HTML5, gears and the Chrome browser can/will out perform any local app.


    There is no future in locally installed apps at all, the desktop is dead.

    1. Todd,

      The android market already contains widgets. Other app stores sell widgets next to ‘regular’ apps and there is no reason to assume the html5 widgets you mention will not be sold in the android market.

      Still I’d love it if you are right, developing mobile apps for all the different mobile platforms, iPhone, Andoid, Symbian, Maemo, WMobile, etc. is far from ideal.


      1. Yes, of course, “apps” for Android will simply be represented by a “bookmark” in the app manager, that being a launcher for the browser to open the web app.

        …look for this to happen very soon with Google Voice for the iPhone!

      2. @ Niels

        I agree. The Android Market will still serve a useful purpose, for web apps:

        1. discovery – a place to go to learn about web apps, read user reviews, etc.
        2. installation – a bookmark or perhaps even a “local” HTML5/CSS/JS app.
        3. financial transactions – developers may prefer having the Android Market handle billing, etc.

      3. Google Voice for Iphone? Well see. FCC involvement with Google Voice and iPhone, you’re likley not going to see anything happen for awhile (if it ever does). I wouldn’t hold my breath. Apple has their heads to far up their own a$$ they are going to suddenly find their strong market share gone. Locked in with AT&T who service and network is sub-standard, denying Google Voice because they feel it competes with their own services, etc. I think Android is going to start booming. I’m excited to see Android finally coming to Verizon. Strong OS, strong phone, best network. iPhone is gonna be hurting soon.

    2. Too true.

      The iPhone way of doing things is to charge $3.99 for a service that is free in the browser. One of the reasons I think ported iPhone apps don’t do so well in the Android market is because the demographic that uses Android is much different. If I were to put a slogan on it, it would be something to the effect of: I’m an Android and I’m not that gullible.

    3. On the contrary, Google’s prizes for ADC (Android Developer Challenge) are responsible for fueling a a major android app boom.. And developers have no chance with countless fart apps; they have to come up with something original and high quality to have a chance.

    4. You’re assuming the user will always have a (3G) signal. I’m in the subway all the time, and want to be able to do things on my phone. Other times I have a wavering signal while in a building, where I have just enough to download an email or page but certainly not to run an app. You can’t treat an Android phone like a PC which has a consistent connection. Local apps will always be necessary.

  2. The other difference being that if you have an iPhone you will definitely have an iTunes store account, whereas on Android I’m sure only a small proportion of users have bothered to set up Google Checkout, which is required to buy paid-for apps.

    1. As a developer, why write an app that’s has to be installed locally, through the Android Market, when your web app can make use of PayPal, Amazon, etc. payment gateway APIs, offer limited use for free and a premium, outside of Google’s control?

  3. but… look at a lot of the Market apps. They’re complete crap. Right now I’m looking at 3 “flashlight” apps, and a whole bunch of stupid “soundboard” apps. Then there’s a bunch of ringtone apps and a big pile of sports related themes and “sexy girl pics” apps.

    There might be an app boom, but it’s likely fueled by low quality developers just trying to make a quick buck.

    And Android hasn’t even managed to get email or a music player right. Yes, I’ve tried k9mail and while it’s light years ahead of the built in Mail app, it still has many problems.

  4. Probably the best of the mobile apps by Google is Mobile Maps, and that is a native application, so while it’s reasonable to assume that Google will push raising the bar on web based apps wherever possible, it’s not like they are blind to the goodness of native/local.

  5. In our case, we first built an Android app to provide a highly-requested feature that consumers wanted — Caller ID — that is technically possible on the iPhone but Apple will not approve. So innovation was our primary motivator and since they have launched premium we have seen better-than-expected conversion rates (+10% on free to premium). Premium is only going to get better on Android because at least one carrier will be providing bill to phone capabilities and another planned marketplace will allow monthly recurring charges/subscription capabilities. Finally, as more apps like our provide users with “always on” benefits, Android’s ability to run multiple apps at the same time provides some important consumer wins. With the recent news of more carriers and phone-makers embracing Android, they are achieving the reach and distribution to justify the investment. Thus, Android doesn’t have to beat iPhone — they just need to keep it open to attract more developers.

    1. What kind of app is that? Some kind of blocking or public address book? The iPhone shows you the number and, if available in the address book, the name and picture of the caller. That’s what’s commonly known as caller ID.

      1. No, what’s commonly known as “caller ID” gives you a listed white pages entity for the number that’s calling you; not just the IDs you’ve programmed in, yourself. Remember, circa 1995, when we’d shell out $5/month for those stupid little boxes that would tells who was calling?

  6. I’m still puzzled how Gartner thinks Android is going to grow by 2400 % within the next 3 years (from 3 to 75 million per year). Sales would need to triple every year.

  7. I got my Android phone in July. The country I live in (New Zealand) didn’t get access to paid Android apps on the Market until October 15th. In the 13 days since then, I’ve bought over 50 apps. At barely a dollar each (or a Euro, or 50 yen, or a UK pound) they are excellent value.

    Guys like me will make those projections come true. I know the Apple-verse from my iPod Touch. The shackle to iTunes is what MADE me decide to buy a shackle-free Android phone.

    I have FTP client and server on my phone. I can txt my IP to anyone on Earth and they can download files from my phone over the Internet. Those same files are accessible by all apps on my phone. Another app lets me directly access windows / Samba file shares and my apps can interact with and files I copy to my phone.

    The Apple iPhone just can’t touch that kind of freedom. Not even close. It’s shackled to one PC on the face of the Earth….and you can’t sync if it isn’t with you. That’s why I didn’t buy it. I can backup my Android phone onto anything…..anywhere.

    1. Wow – I’ve been waiting for a decent Android phone to pop up on Sprint, but Steve, you’ve just thrown gas on my envy fire.. I did not realize they had a ftp server for Android yet, but I should have, it’s just Linux..


  8. For anyone that thinks the a web based app provides just as good of a user experience as a mobile app must live directly below their carrier’s tower. Even with 3G, the user experience is very slow compared to most well mobile apps. Apple and the iPhone have created a huge shift in user experience, and I am predicting that this shift will create more customer demand for “app-like” behavior in all web and mobile systems. Consumers want quick hits of infotainment… they want the sitcom version and not the Directors Cut Full Featured Film version of a user experience. Just look at the success of Twitter… it has the best part of Facebook and that is it. We want smaller bite sized modules and a quick “get-in-and-out app” is exactly what users want. Who would have “thunk” that people would pay much more for a simple and pretty machine? Just think of all of the students still trying to pay off their mac books they bought before college… they probably never even considered the $400 PC laptop that does everything they ever needed. Apple has created the iLife and the App Life and I don’t see a shift in this behavior. So the mobile app is in no way dying, and it is short sighted to think otherwise. What you might see is more web-based apps looking more and more like iPhone apps.

    My last point is about the Android Market and their apps. I see very little difference in the quality of the top iPhone apps and the Top Android apps, and with major plays like Samsung, Dell, Motorola, and Verizon all pushing the Android platform, I can definitely see 75 million by 2012.


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