A recent Neilson study that was just published confirmed a theory I have had for a long time now. In the app store wars it is all about quality over quantity. App stores may harp about having 250,000 or 350,000 apps but most users only really use a maximum of 5-10 apps regularly. According to Neilson this is the case for Android where:
"In fact, the top 10 Android apps account for 43 percent of all the time spent by Android consumers on mobile apps. The top 50 apps account for 61 percent of all time spent. With 250,000+ Android apps available at the time of this writing, that means the remaining 249,950+ apps have to compete for the remaining 39 percent of the pie."
So I decided to take a look at some of the top 10 apps reported in the Android Marketplace and noticed something interesting. Here are the top 10 Free and Paid apps:
Notice first that almost 40% of the “Apps” are games? Of the remaining 12 apps four of the six free ones are also available on BlackBerry in some form. Another 4 of the apps are only really applicable to Android (ROM Manager, Task Killer, Launcher, & Widgets). If you look at the full list of top 50 paid and free apps in the Android Market you get more or less the same story with a few standouts like Skype and Netflix along with a huge abundance of games listed as apps.
The other listing I found very interesting was the top grossing apps in App World. The second top grossing app in the Android Marketplace is Documents to Go. An app that now comes free on BlackBerry OS 7 and future devices which is nice. Most of the rest seem to be games. This really drives home a key point to RIM. Games are VERY important for users and when users are asking for “apps” it seems like they mean games. RIM is making some great headway on the BlackBerry PlayBook with games but the BlackBerry handhelds need the same treatment. BlackBerry 7 devices with OpenGL should help a bit but the QNX support for gaming SDK’s is key along with headliner games like Angry Birds. In terms of apps RIM needs to make a concerted effort to bring the top 50, 100, or even 500 apps to both BlackBerry smartphones and the PlayBook if they have not already done so. It seems to be a huge case of quality over quantity. App discoverability is also key for smaller niche apps and developers since many BlackBerry users and even Android users barely get past the top 50 apps.
What do you think?
PS: Keep in mind this Neilson study is about “Time in Apps” or how long you spend in them. Some apps like weather apps are very useful but you don’t spend a ton of time in them. Neilson also does not list out what top 10 or top 50 apps they are specifically ranking.