Last updated: April 29, 2011 - 8:35am
[Commentary] Think the mobile app economy is a passing fad? You might want to think again. ABI Research reported that an estimated 44 billion mobile applications will be downloaded within the next five years. By that time, the global population will be around 7 billion people, and while most of them won't have a smartphone, the math works out to more than six mobile app downloads for every man, woman and child on the planet!
We’re in the midst of migrating many activities from desktop to mobile computing and also from heavy, full-featured software to task-based computing. This task-based approach, and the large demand for apps that support it, underscore the challenge that new devices faces when entering the market. Specifically, I'm thinking of Research In Motion’s PlayBook, which has much to like in terms of interface, usability and design, but has few apps. HP will face the same challenge with its TouchPad when it arrives in the next few months, as will any MeeGo devices, if they arrive at all. Building a great device that’s easy to use isn't enough these days, nor will it be for the next several years. And although web apps can suffice in some cases, the promise of app-like features from HTML5 is still off in the distance.
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