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App v. browser = Download v. usage

January 27, 2010

I’d like to share excerpts from two recent press releases and ask you to note the difference.

From a January 26, 2010 press release from Opera’s website on use of their browser:

  • In December 2009, more than 46.3 million people used Opera Mini, an 11% increase from November 2009 and more than 159% compared to December 2008.
  • Those 46.3 million people viewed more than 20.7 billion pages in December 2009. Since November, page views have gone up 10.1%. Since December 2008, page views have increased 223%.
  • Opera Mini users generated over 315 million megabytes (MB) of data for operators worldwide in December 2009. Since November, the data consumed went up by 10.5%. Data in Opera Mini is compressed up to 90%. If this data were uncompressed, Opera Mini users would have viewed over 2.9 petabytes (PB) of data in December. Since December 2008, data traffic is up 206%.

This is from an Apple press release dated 1-5-10:

“Three billion applications downloaded in less than 18 months—this is like nothing we’ve ever seen before,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “The revolutionary App Store offers iPhone and iPod touch users an experience unlike anything else available on other mobile devices, and we see no signs of the competition catching up anytime soon.”

See the difference? Opera talks about usage and Apple talks about downloads. Which would you rather have? As a developer you want downloads since this is how you get paid. As a brand or business, you want usage since this is your intention-to connect with your audience.

One thing I learned at Sprint when I was on the 3G Product Marketing team was that after about 6 months downloads virtually stopped since the novelty wore off but browser usage grew on a per user basis. Indeed, if data ever emerged which “aged” the Apple iPhone population I would imagine a precipitous decline in downloads about 6 months after activation.

Just more hard data that having a mobile presence accessible by the mobile phone browser, like you can have with a free Ruxter site, is your long term connection with your mobile audience.

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.

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