I have been tracking market research from the major analyst houses since 2004. These days there’s much more market research available and I have decided to expand the sources of the listings and also move the market research listing to a separate pinterest style site. It’s called smartphonemarketresearch.com but also covers tablets and anything to do with mobile. The old listing will remain for historical reference.
Some of the latest research is interesting. For example, two Samsung devices beat the iPhone 5 in a ACSI consumer satisfaction survey, Kantar Wordpanel has a great breakdown of smartphone shipments across 10 main countries and analysis by eMarketer showed that younger people prefer to shop via a mobile app than a mobile web site.
Vision Mobile has results of a new developer survey
including 6,000 respondents from 115 countries. The free report (registration required) also includes information on OS platform market shares and related insights.
"There are no profits to be made in handset production itself. In other words, hardware is dead. Instead, value has migrated to upwards in the technology stack (to services) and downwards (to handset components)."
This situation means that it’s very difficult, if not impossible, for OS newcommers to compete…
"Even Microsoft with an estimated over 5 billion dollars invested in Windows Phone has managed to secure a tiny 3% smartphones sales share in 2.5 years since the platform launched."
The developer survey is full of interesting insights and deeper numbers on the use of HTML in mobile development, developer mindshare and intentshare by mobile OS. There’s also analysis on platform choice vs what developers are trying to achive. There are also numbers on tablet development, revenue models and average revenue per month.
When I read reports such as this I often start wondering what constitutes a ‘developer’. For example, I am an ‘implementing’ developer but my clients might also consider themselves developers. While I don’t do development for intermediaries any more, there are also some types of client who themselves have clients, for example brands, who might also consider themselves as doing mobile development. Similarly, those people working inside companies have managers and end clients who might be seen as developing for mobile.
Vision mobile have sliced developers a different way and have split them into categories based on what they are trying to achieve…
- Guns for hire
- Product extenders
- Gold seekers
- Digital content publishers
The report considers the repercussions of their respective motivations.
Canalys released their Q2/2012 figures while I was away last week. I take more interest in Canalys reporting because a) They are World figures (I dislike the way some other researchers quote US figures as if they are World numbers) and b) The numbers are based on shipments and not on something such as use of an ad network that is bound to have some geographical or mobile platform bias.
- Android went from 47.6% to 68.1% market share over a year
- Windows Phone is definitely a failure now
- Blackberry has a low market share of only 5.4%
I believe we have now reached the stage where it’s not really worth developing new apps on BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Phone. It’s now iOS (for revenue from paid apps) and Android for reach.
One of the areas I commonly see startups underestimate is the download of non-photographic graphics. In its simplest form, download via http is trivial on all mobile platforms. However, the complexity manifests itself when you start to consider that different devices have different screen sizes and resizing graphics on the device is undesirable either because upsizing causes fuzzyness, downsizing loses small line detail in shapes and, in any case, downloading larger graphics for later reduction is extremely wasteful on both server resources and data.
Things get slightly more complex when you start to think about the server sending a particular size based on the device. The device type has to be sent to the server, the server has to keep different sizes of the same image and these images have to be created somehow, usually by a human if it’s a non-photographic graphic. What’s more, the server needs to know about all types of device and update these into the future. An additional problem on iOS is avoiding undesirably large downloads via 3G.
All these things should influence your initial design from the outset. Keep the graphic design as simple as possible. Every dynamic graphic you add will increase the complexity. Where possible, consider using scalar vector graphics rather than bitmap-based formats. Possibly have different screen layouts for different screen resolutions so you can re-use a same-size graphic in different ways. Think about which devices on which platforms you wish to support as the more you have, the greater the graphical complexity. To spice up app, consider using fixed brand-coloured buttons, list backgrounds and other controls rather than insisting on dynamic bitmaps.