Tag Archives: mobile apps

Deloitte Identifies the Killer App

If you are thinking of developing a mobile app, particularly one associated with a brand name, then you’ll want to read Deloitte’s latest research into killer apps. In less than a dozen pages, it has some great data, mini-case studies and plenty to think about.

Here are a few of the nuggets:

  • 45% of smartphone owners download an app at least once per week.
  • but less than 1% of the apps associated with a “brand” have been downloaded a million times (which seems to be the metric for success in the app world).

If you want your app to succeed, there are two broad areas that do well – “time killers” and “utilities”. Games are good examples of time killers but Audi and Volkswagen’s driving games are some of the few that have done well. In the utility space, Kraft’s iFood Assistant has also been a hit.

Looking at apps that do well and are successful, these typically employ five functions to engage the user – portability, the accelerometer, sophisticated touch screen use, location-based services (GPS) and the camera. Using these are no guarantees of success but they certainly help.

Of course, it helps if you know your user. Deloitte has broken down iPhone ownership by employment type revealing three big groups:

  • 25.2% – Professional and higher technical work
  • 22.6% – Manager and senior administrator
  • 19.3% – Clerical

In the end, Deloitte reckons that there are four ingredients for branded app success.

  1. Offer useful functionality
  2. Know how to manipulate app store ratings
  3. Target the platforms used by the brand customers
  4. Use additional smartphone functionality

The full report can be downloaded from Killer Apps – The Promises and Pitfalls of a Smarter World.

UK Units and gpsDashboard

Here in the UK, we live in a strange a mix of imperial (English) and metric units.  We buy fruit and veg by the kilo but ask someone their weight, it’s in stones and pounds.  When it’s cold, it’s “a few degrees” (C) but when it’s hot, it’s “in the 80s” (F).  You can buy pints of milk but in the supermarket, you’ll pick up 2 litres.  No one gets too bothered about it, (except readers of The Daily Mail who regularly get worked up about the loss of imperial units).

Distance and speed are still resolutely in miles and mph, but height is usually in metres.  So you can have this strange anomaly where you are driving at 60 mph with 20 miles to your destination on a road at 800 m.

And this is where my problem arose – I was using gpsDashboard+ on my Palm Pre Plus which allows you to toggle between miles/feet or km/metre.  But if I chose imperial, my distance and speed are good, but height is in feet.  What I wanted was imperial distance and speed but metric height.

I contacted the author of gpsDashboard+, Brad Graber, at 2.15 on Monday afternoon.  By 3pm he’d make the changes and he re-submitted gpsDashboard+ to Palm later that day.  At 7.30 on Wednesday morning, I download the updated version to my Pre and gpsDashboard+ now has a special UK units setting just for me!

I’m grateful to Brad for the change but the speed from which it went from “I’ve got a problem” to “Problem fixed” was amazing, especially when you hear how long it takes apps to get updated in certain other app stores.  Great job Brad, and great job Palm.  Fantastic service.

Venturing Into Unknown Territory

Orion Nebula Hubble SmallIf you are looking for an interesting listen, check out the Steve Jobs interview at the 2010 D8 Conference. If you would rather watch the video, here’s that version.

One of the interesting things Mr. Jobs said is that this phenomena of mobile apps that has really exploded in the past three years is something new, something we haven’t seen before. I must say, I agree with him. To be honest, there were a few albeit limited mobile apps before the iPhone and the iPod Touch, but they were few and far between. The iPhone and iPod touch really gave this market a truly usable platform for the first time, and that’s what caused it to ignite. Truly usable pocket/portable Internet-enabled devices have facilitated brand new types of activities.

In the realm of desktop computers, there are probably hundreds of thousands or millions of applications available. However, we cannot carry a running desktop or laptop computer around in our pockets. Full-blown computer applications are designed for a different platform with different purposes in mind. For years there have been people that have carried laptops around in their cars and briefcases with them, but full-blown computers don’t lend themselves to the types of consumer behaviors we see emerging from the use of capable smart phones.

On a desktop computer, if we want to look something up such as a restaurant or a sports score we typically go to Google or Bing, and such a search will likely point us to web pages to get the information we seek. However, as Mr. Jobs pointed out, the statistics indicate that the majority of people doing a search on smart phones tend to use specialized apps to perform these searches. Specialized smart phone apps do tend to provide much more specific, concentrated, GPS-enabled search results. Also, the GPS-enabled smart phone takes social networking itself to new heights.

Steve Jobs and Apple deserve credit for facilitating this new emerging portable device app market. The iPhone, the world’s first truly highly-desirable smart phone platform, was the right move at the right time. In the absence of the iPhone, given the emergence of high-speed wireless Internet, it’s likely that an app market of some sort would have emerged anyway. What Mr. Jobs and Apple really did was give the smart phone market a kick in the pants, spurring a quantum leap forward in what is essentially wireless broadband pocket computing that also happens to have a phone function.

Now that Android phones are on the scene offering the first serious competition with the Apple iPhone, the smart phone and app market is truly becoming interesting.