One thing you can be sure about in the IT industry – change. Lots of it, fast and often in unexpected directions.
After 20 years of PCs in various forms increasingly ruling our lives, getting smaller, quicker, more capable software, and so on, suddenly there’s a change afoot that has the potential to eclipse the PC in terms of the effect on our lives.
I’m talking of course, about relatively small mobile devices and the apps that run on them.
Yes, people are buying ever-increasing quantities of tablets with new models coming out on a monthly basis. Smart-phones, of course, are the other half of the hardware equation, and rapidly becoming the dominant phone device in wealthier economies. But without a substantial body of applications – appropriately abbreviated to “apps” as they are relatively small and simple – these devices would be little more than curious ‘toys.’
For those of you that like statistics, how about these:
- App market size (value) in 2012 – $17.5 Billion, according to GetJar. This is huge, but even more amazing when you consider how many apps are free.
- App downloads – 4.5 Billion in 2010, 21.6 Billion in 2013, says Gartner. Huge growth, and really underscores the GetJar forecast for the market value.
Recognising this opportunity, there are expected to be over 10 million app developers by 2016, and we can expect a bewildering choice of, perhaps, a million different apps on each of the major operating systems/platforms as soon as 2014.
Of course, today, the vast majority of apps are for entertainment purposes: games, music, video, etc. But as tablets and smart-phones become increasingly accepted by business, this will change. We can see this starting already – on the iPhone, fully 65% of the top 100 apps are games, whereas on the iPad, this is down to 45%, with business, news and productivity apps showing marked increase on the tablet.
And this is the key behind the phenomenon. Businesses are realising that by allowing users to utilise their own smart-phones and tablets on the company network they’re saving enormous sums of money, both directly (users buying their own equipment) and indirectly (the lifecycle of corporate IT assets can be longer as these smart, mobile devices take some of the load).
What’s more, apps are taking us back to basics. Away from the massive, resource-intensive applications we’ve become used to – full of features that we don’t use, but which helped justify the upgrade (or even initial purchase price) – and towards small, focused apps that just do one thing, but do it well. A sort of RISC approach to software, as we’ve seen on processors.
In the next few years, look for company-owned “App Stores” to become the norm, providing users with a variety of tools to increase productivity by accessing company systems from their mobile devices. Reducing costs for the company and increasing productivity.
Is your business looking at how to take advantage of this next frontier?
- Review of iPad in the Enterprise, by Nathan Clevenger (theintentionalleader.wordpress.com)
- Eight lessons for publishers from comScore’s new report on mobile (blogs.journalism.co.uk)
- Mobile devices now outnumber people in U.S. (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- How The Rise Of Mobile Devices Has Affected Search Spend (searchengineland.com)
- Forecast: More US Mobile Web Users Than PC By 2015 (searchengineland.com)
- The Tablet Commerce Revolution, Coming to a Site Near You (readwriteweb.com)
- Mobile App & Why You Want to Have One? (americamobi.wordpress.com)
- Post-PC era or not, we are firmly in the mobile era (zdnet.com)