The App Appeal

Feb 11 2014, 03:59 IST
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SummaryHow to get the best apps? Nokia tries something new

These days creating a great smartphone or tablet is no longer a guarantee of success. You need to have the app store that can push it to the next level. And app stores are all about numbers. There might be just a few thousand apps that are really worth downloading (I actually think there are just that many good apps), but until you have the many zeros to accompany the number of apps on your store, people will not take you seriously.

For instance, Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play store both have over a million active apps. In comparison, the Windows Store has just about 1,50,000 and BlackBerry World a hundred thousand more. Even if these two stores manage to get all the top hundred apps from the bigger stores, they wouldn’t have arrived until they cross the million mark. That is how tough the competition in the app world is these days.

So, how do you get all the apps? Developers love the App Store, for it gives them better returns than any other store. So, the most innovative apps invariably end up there. Android’s Google Play, on the other hand, is not all that monetised, but gets amazing numbers as it is the dominant player in the smartphone space. Despite being one of the most monetised platforms, primarily due to its high-end user base, BlackBerry has not been able to get the best apps. Now, however, the company seems to have called it quits by letting users sideload any Android app, in a way leaving the app headache to the user.

Powered by Nokia, Windows Phone, meanwhile, seems to be taking a completely new approach to the whole app problem. Last year, Nokia experimented with a reality show called ‘Your wish is my app’, inviting regular users to suggest ideas for apps. “We were expecting a maximum of 5,000 entries, but ended up with 38,000,” explains P Balaji, managing director of Nokia India. Interestingly, most of the entries were productivity apps and not trivial games that actually make up the numbers in most apps stores. A year down the line, about 1,200 of these apps are live and 300 more are being developed.

Realising that their idea has clicked big time, Nokia has opened up the second edition for a global audience and are expecting 50,000 entries. The Finnish phone-maker is also banking big time on its developer

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