App Stores and Beyond – Part 2

Let us start with understanding the App Store barriers; realize the market is shifting continuously. At any point App Stores have the right to alter or refine their policies? Therefore, your app might not be compliant based on policy changes, which puts you at risk.  Will the market change from a app download model to service model over time?

App Store allow the developers to mark that the mobile app cannot be downloaded and can be only installed. They expect users to access the app store directly from your phone and download the apps. This create inflexibility for the users as money needs to be spend for internet charges. It is frustrating to spend time and effort and money multiple times for a free app by users (who are friends or family members) co-located and not able to share with each other.

Can the app stores provide me the following features for a user looking to download an  app ?

  • Ability to send Email with link from where you can download the app. The email can be send to self or to a friend.
  • Ability to send Email with link that you can use to download the app on your phone
  • Ability to scan the QR code with the help of which you can download the APK of the app to your phone
  • Ability to say that “ I am  not interested.” This might go on for endless options which can be frustrating.

There seems to be gap in search and discover-ability of app through the app store which can be solved by a service and some of them are in process of being solved.

  • Ability to book mark a mobile app for future download for the app store? It should be accessible across devices. On devices where app is available, selecting the book mark would result to download of the corresponding app specific to the device and in cases where app is not available on the devices, selecting the book mark reports app unavailability.
  • Can there be unified native app store experience for Android, iOS and Blackberry as well as a web-based HTML5 version
  • Can we look for a single app distribution scenario without the overhead of intrusive technology on a user’s device?
  • Is there a way to know what are the apps my friend has installed? Based on what I and my friends have installed on our respective phones, can I get a recommendation for new app?
  • Developers do not distribute apps directly for the need of app reviews and rankings. Should there be a service that can be made available across app stores to capture the same?

Enterprise mobility adoption demanded complete, secure solution that doesn’t require IT to get started and brings these unique challenges and some of them have been solved.

  • Can customers buy and track bulk licenses for apps in the App Store.
  • Can app store security be connected to an enterprise authentication server to provide single sign on (SSO) for users.
  • Can app store may be completely configured and branded with a customer’s logo and branding for a custom look
  • Can the app store provide simple user interface to provide granular management by enterprise users of a single business unit.
  • The app may be inspected, policies may be applied to it, and the app may be auto-signed. Instead of installing the app through a public app store, users activate an app link sent by email, text or even QR code which will automatically install the app on the user’s device over the air.

Why should business link to Mobile App Store from their respective home pages? This question gains a lot of importance, While the App store, despite being powerful  is severely flawed and we have seen that Discover-ability is a huge problem, and large percentage of the apps are not very good.

Let us not assume that app store is entirely positive from developer perspective . Here are some challenges.

  • Apps at low price requires  massive volume to make up for the upfront costs
  • Users are much less likely to buy your high price app and  rarely  buy if there is likely a learning curve.
  • If you can’t monetize over time, your users are extracting MUCH more value than you are receiving in revenue. That’s great if you’re a user, up until the company you love sells out because they can’t make money.