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The Mobile Application Market: A New Bubble?

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Over the last year or so, developers have started to make significant amounts of money from the mobile application market. The most lucrative market right now is on the iPhone, and with the announcement of the iPad, Apple's app store is bound to have a lot more apps available by the time it is available to buy. Of course, the iPhone isn't the only mobile marketplace available for developers - Google's Android Market and the Java Store give Java developers the opportunity to sell their mobile applications. If you want to target other devices, you can go to Windows Marketplace for Mobile or Nokia's Ovi Store. There's a lot of options there, and that makes me wonder if the current mobile frenzy is leading a section of the IT industry heading towards something similar to the dot-com bubble? 

We're seeing new applications pop up every day all across the various app stores, most predominatly Apple's. But one of the things that could lead to hurt in the industry is that developers need to choose their platform early. If you want to get the widest audience possible, it seems that you need to go for the Apple AppStore. On the other hand, if you want to get an application together quickly, Android is the best choice, especially for Java developers.  To get applications available on more than one platform takes significant development effort. Without one common platform are we seeing a lot of money being wasted by those who don't bet on their platform wisely? 

On the other hand, some of the hype around mobile applications is warranted. We've waited a long time to see the trend evolve to this point, and it feels like a natural progression for us to be able to access the same data on our mobile devices when on the move as from the desktop. Maybe the dot-com bubble at the turn of the century thought the industry some valuable lessons in maturity. The current trend towards mobile could be the result of a carefully crafted path towards the next generation of computer usage. 

I'm interested to hear what you've to say here, so please vote and leave your comments


Kevin Rodrigues replied on Tue, 2010/02/02 - 11:46am

I feel the mobile trend is here to stay. Users like to have their applications available on the go and the mobile application segment enables them to have this. What we will see perhaps is an increase in the hardware capabilities of devices such as increased screen sizes and hence more capable applications. Kevin Rodrigues

Jose Maria Arranz replied on Tue, 2010/02/02 - 3:37pm

@James Sugrue: To get applications available on more than one platform takes significant development effort

You forget other mobile trends: mobile web and mobile web widgets

I think the history is going to be repeated again like in desktop:

  1. Today: native applications
  2. Tomorrow: mobile web and mobile web widgets.

  Native mobile applications will become a niche for some kind of applications (games, local applications) like in desktop.

  These days we are seeing native applications repeating the behavior of related web sites... transitory crazy.



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