AppStore and Beyond – Part3

There is an opportunity here for someone who wants to build a crowd-sourced community, with safeguards against manipulation by powerful corporate entities, that finds overlooked apps and brings them to people’s attention.

There are mobile app market places that are competing with OEM app stores.

  • GetJar, downloadable on Google Play, offers users paid apps at no charge. It’s a great alternative for developers or publishers, looking to test out the freemium model for their paid apps.  As an added bonus, GetJar has a user base of 50 million and employs a recommendation algorithm to tailor suggested apps to each user’s taste.
  • Opera launched its own mobile app store in 2011,  a browser-based app serving Android, Windows Phone, iOS, Symbian, Java, HTML5, and Blackberry apps. The Opera Mobile Store is a popular alternative among Android users, with 60 million monthly visitors and 100,000 apps available to download.
  • SlideMe is alternative Android app store with a global reach and a decent user base. It offers free and premium apps in various categories and they all pass through a quality control process. The app store support for various payment options including PayPal and makes it easy to filter your searches and you’ll find good app descriptions.

     Apps stand out because the choice is more refined.

There are other alternatives that compete with OEM based app store. This comes due to growth in number of smartphone users in India and  they are not necessarily on the internet.

  • Package the app and content with tablet device. In India, education companies are buying tablet devices in bulk and packaging content in SD card and providing to the students. The next academic year it is expected that students would continue to make use of the same device and would purchase SD card with next year syllabus.
  • Some education companies are making use of wireless access points to download app or app upgrades from their website and expect students to come and download content on wi-fi and not have internet charges,
  • The adoption of mobile web frees developers to use their web technology of choice, so long as it will render on mobile browsers. Design and develop once, deploy everywhere. With smart design and code, a single web app could render appropriately on differing resolutions and screen sizes, and respond accordingly to touch, 5-way or cursor.
  • You see emergence of USSD platform, a first-generation communication technology that is similar to SMS it provides navigation through a textual, session-based interface, and works across all types of handsets. U2opia Mobile makes use of this technology to make Facebook and twitter accessible to people without Internet. USSD only supports text messages and cannot be used for pictures or any other sort of graphical content.

Let us assume that some company has a large suite of products and have memory recall in the minds of their targeted audience.  Why should these popular brands not bypass the application store process and distribute their applications independently? Today you can do this in android apps, but they need to recreate the intent of the application store to incorporate user reviews and also need to certify the app for unique identification of the app.  You might want an localized app store that specifically caters to your country.

A software is marked great when it is complex and works like magic for the customer.The customer does not care of the craftsmanship involved in your app mainly because bulk of the hard work is hidden deep below the visual layer. The general public do not understand the complexity and time it takes to build something great and his thought process is more of why should I pay 99 cents when there might a free alternative exist that’s just as good or better.