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Maybe we’re not so appy

January 22, 2010

I suppose it’s bound to happen over and over in a nascent industry like the mobile internet. The “it” I speak of is the often contradictory statements that appear between forecast and reality.

Not too long ago I blogged about Yahoo being the top destination on the mobile internet and at the same time analysts were painting a very cloudy picture of their future on the mobile internet.

Or take Google as another example. Reports abound around their forecasted dominance of the mobile internet and yet the satisfaction curve is flat or declining when it comes to user satisfaction with the mobile internet. (It bears repeating at this juncture that your PC site on a mobile phone likely won’t render and a PC site on a mobile phone does not make you part of the mobile internet.)

Not to be left out, the app hype machine brings us our latest example of this back-and-forth between forecast and reality.

Case in point: Gartner Group predicts mobile app revenue will hit $7B in 2010. Juxtaposed against this is the new asknet survey which reports that 38% of smartphone users are frustrated by the high cost of apps and fully 34% of those that don’t buy said it’s because it’s “not worth the time or effort.”

Now, this might be a slanted report since the survey was done in Boston and San Francisco and most respondents were AT&T customers (43%). We all know how beleaguered the AT&T network is on the coasts. The sample size was also small at only 400.

Even still, taking this all into consideration there are 3 things I draw from the asknet report.

1. As I have said before, why have an app when a mobile website will suffice and what’s more, as it is with Ruxter, you can direct your audience to your site anytime you want with a relevant text message. A mobile website also offers you a lot more scale at a fraction of the cost of developing and maintaining an app.

2. The app stores are crowded and no one wants to sort through 100,000’s of titles. Granted there’s the ability to search but awareness is still a huge challenge for app stores.

3. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, mobile users are on-the-go and are not willing to spend a great deal of time in buying an app. I remember counting the clicks it took to buy a ringer when I was at Sprint and by no means am I singling them out since the other carriers are the same, but AYE CARUMBA! 21 clicks to buy a ringer? Mobile users are on-the-go and want to be told something relevant and find what they want fast so they can be on their way.

Count me as a skeptic that the app world will be as rosy as some would like to make it out to be. Mobile websites will have their day in the sun due to their scale, cost and ease of discovery and with Ruxter you get a one-stop shop to make your mobile presence a reality.

Dale Knoop is a mobile multimedia patents holder and an industry-recognized pioneer of mobile data services. In 2005 Dale won an Emmy while serving as the GM for Sprint TV. In August 2009 he launched Ruxter which allows anyone to quickly and easily become part of the rapidly growing mobile internet with a free, fully optimized mobile website they can share with anyone. You can contact him here. Follow Ruxter on Twitter.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 26, 2010 8:41 pm

    As much as I can understand right now, I think you’re right!

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