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The business of… Apps
[November 25, 2010]

The business of… Apps

(Kippreport (Dubai) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Apps: a recent phenomenon that some estimate to be a billion dollar industry. But if you have been living under a rock and managed to stay out of the up-to-date world of smartphones and iPads, and are untainted by the empire of the mighty Apple, chances are you might be a bit confused by all the talk of "apps" and "apps stores." Which is why we have broken down the business of apps, from the history of the industry, to the economy of it and the status of apps in the Middle East.

History Although the term "apps" seems to have gained mega-popularity in just the past couple of years, mobile users have been using them for a while now. Apps, which is a short form for "applications," are essentially software on your phone: like the long winded game of SNAKE that would occupy the time of old school Nokia users. The creation and usage of apps became a lot more accessible upon the launch of the iPhone 3G in July 2008, which allowed users to browse, download and upload apps onto the App Store. Applications can vary from the basic uses like web browsers, to games, to recipe books and even virtual beer pint simulators (more on this in a bit).

Apps Store The Apple App Store is precisely what it sounds like, it is the place where users of the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad go to browse, download, and upload various applications. While some applications are free of charge, others require the user to pay a fee. 70 percent of the fee is given to the seller of the application and 30 percent stays with Apple. As of October 20, 2010, Apple announced they crossed the 3 million mark for applications available on the store, with more than 7 billion total downloads. That's a lot of cash.

Most Famous Apps The most famous App as of November 22 2010 is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the Facebook app, with over a whopping 100 million mobile application downloads on GetJar, according to the cross-platform app storefront (GetJar). Apparently, over half of the downloads were from Nokia devices. Prior to this, the previous most downloaded app was the Opera Mini app for the iPhone which passed a million downloads in just its first day on the Apple App Store. Opera Mini is a browser through which mobile users can access the internet. But the popular apps aren't always as sensible; earlier this year Intomobile reported that most downloaded app in the UK was iPint: an app which was allows users to drink a virtual pint of beer.

Apps economy Don't be fooled by the downright sillyness of some apps; the apps business is big money. Currently, analysts predict the market will be worth $4 billion by next year. As mentioned earlier, the revenue of apps, which generally cost under $5 to download, are split 70-30 between the app developer and Apple – which can translate into thousands and thousands of dollars for the developer at the end of the day. Consider the case of Joel Comm, who developed an app that created a farting noise, appropriately called iFart, which helped him rake in Dh30,000 a day for the first few weeks; or the case of Kostas Eleftheriou, who developed an app called iSteam, which allowed users to scribble messages on a virtual steamed up screen: an app that brought her Dh240,000.

Apps in the Middle East Though a relatively new phenomenon, apps in the Middle East are developing in popularity rapidly with local apps being developed by the likes of Etihad, Etisalat, The Economist and even Kipp's sister publication Trends (we're not on the app scene just yet. Watch this space). Etisalat's general manager for directory services Rashid Al Naqbi told Communicate that their Yellow Pages app has "had an overwhelming response from our customers…with more than 10,000 downloads so far." In fact, Arabic Apps, which were once few and far between, are now also catching up with the trend.

Devices As mentioned before, apps can generally be downloaded for mobile phones. Unless you aren't the happy owner of a smartphone, in which case you may hit trouble: The general rule is, if your phone can access the internet, you can use an app, but there are often issues of compatibility depending on the brand of your phone and its age. Users of iPod Touch and the iPad can also download and use special apps made for those machines – the iPad in particular is gaining in popularity fast.

(c) 2009 Dubai Business | Kippreport. All Rights Reserved. Provided by an company

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