Gartner Blog Network

Most Things Being Equal, The Apps have It

by Phillip Redman  |  November 5, 2010  |  5 Comments

We are now fully in the era of the smartphone.  At no other time have we had such numerous choices of quality devices from companies like Samsung, Apple, Nokia, Apple, HTC, Motorola and RIM, to name just a few.  Adoption of smartphones by both consumers and enterprises is big.  This year, more than 70% of new phones brought in to U.S. enterprises will be smartphones. In the next few years, over 90% of business users will have a smartphone.  No doubt the choice, quality and price is driving this adoption.  In the past couple months I have tried out a few of the newer models–Apple iPhone 4, Samsung Galaxy S and the RIM BlackBerry Torch. Each has its strengths–iPhone 4 for ease of use, the Galaxy for its amazing screen and the Torch for its management and customization capabilities.  Though the BlackBerry Torch will be adopted  primarily by enterprise users, it has a much-improved touchscreen (compared to the variations of the Storm) and it does a nice job managing social networking.  I think all three will have some success (duh!–tough analyst prediction here) but in the near term, the thing that will drive users, with most things being equal, will be the apps that are available for download.

Right now, Apple is in the lead for sheer quantity of apps, with over 300,00o available for its platform.  Android is fast approaching, just topping the 100,000 mark.  Now I’m not saying the more apps, the more devices sold–in fact, I think we’ve hit a bit of a plateau and it gets to a point where ten of the same app isn’t adding any value.  But when users are making a decision between platforms, and the hardware and functionality of the device is almost equal, having a large number of apps to choose from is going to drive a big part of the end user decision.  This means those that have fewer apps–averaging under 15,000 each–RIM, Windows Phone 7 manufacturers, HP Palm–are all fighting an uphill battle.  Nokia has survived so far, but the Symbian platform is under pressure in Europe from competitors, and next year will feel the full impact.  We have now entered the era of the smartphones, and apps are leading the way.  And all platforms aren’t equal there.

Category: android  apple-vendors  applications  cellular  htc  iphone  motorola  nokia  rim-vendors  samsung  

Tags: apps  smartphone  

Phillip Redman
Research VP
10 years at Gartner
17 years IT industry

Phillip Redman is a research vice president in Gartner Research, where he leads mobile research in the network services and infrastructure group. Mr. Redman brings almost 15 years of experience in the wireless mobile and telecommunications industry… . Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Most Things Being Equal, The Apps have It

  1. Dave Snow says:

    Absolutely agree that the new battlefront will be the apps, both personal and business apps. Much like text has overhwelmed voice, app adoption and usage will be moire telling than the sheer number of apps. Leading app providers are already being paid to port over to lesser platforms.

  2. Alan Snyder says:

    You are absolutely right; Apps have always been the battle ground (voice, email, IM, navigation…), but initially you couldn’t separate the device from the App. People want to get things done, whether they are done for business or pleasure it is all about the ability to interact. Not only is the future battle about apps, it is about who can provide the best end-to-end development and delivery platform for Apps with the best service quality. The end user just wants things to work, they don’t to hear “I don’t know why it failed – reboot the device and reload the app…”.

  3. Ryan Burke says:

    Will apps matter less in the near to medium term as web browsing gets better and networks (hopefully) faster?

  4. Phillip Redman says:

    I think they will always be important–but you are right, less so as HTML 5 becomes ubiquitous and allows offline access to data in a mobile environment. Next gen networks, like LTE, will also reduce latency from over 300ms on average to under 50 ms–which will help also.

  5. Phillip Redman says:

    Alan–I completely agree.

Comments are closed

Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.