App Insights: Dissecting the App Store Players

2:45 PM -- In the future, it may be common to have three mobile app stores embedded on your phone, says Pyramid Research in its latest report, but not all the companies vying to own the buying experience have staying power.

This week, in its latest report, "Mobile App Stores: A New Mobile Web?" Pyramid shed some light on what's fast become a competitive and crowded mobile apps industry. (See Pyramid: Mobile Apps on the Upswing and Operators Need Developers for Apps Ambitions .)

Light Reading Mobile took it one step further to better understand the major players and their relative chance at staying around once the app storm subsides.

Table 1: The Application Store Ecosystem -- Parsing the Major Players
Launch Date Approx. number of apps Advantages Disadvantages
Apple App Store July 2008 on the iPhone 3G 225,000 Familiar payment model in iTunes; most apps on the market; brand cache; great interface for app usage Limited to one mobile device (plus iPad, iPod); walled garden development approach; hard for apps to gain visibility
Google Android September 2008 on the T-Mobile G1 70,000 Fast approval process for developers with a money-back guarantee for paid content; open development process; many devices to choose from Google Checkout payment model requires a credit card; often subpar apps get approved; fragmentation
GetJar Early 2005 55,000 Can be rebranded for an operator partner; platform agnostic; completely ad supported Only offers free "lite" versions of apps; less brand awareness; relies on viral marketing
Verizon Wireless V Cast Apps April 2010 on the BlackBerry Storm 300 Have access to granular subscriber data that can be used for targeting; large installed base; variety of handsets; approval process of no more than 14 days Lacks developer support, app variety and catalog management ; potential fragmentation issues
Nokia Ovi May 2009 6,843 Targeted recommendations engine using contacts' purchases; adding location awareness Small range of apps; operator billing is only available from select operators; poor catalog management
BlackBerry App World April 2009 7,000 Targeted, high-quality app approach; developer revenue split of 80/20 Requires users to have a PayPal account; competes with operator partner portals
Microsoft Marketplace (powered by PocketGear) October 2009 2,500 Targeted, high-quality app approach, but lacks variety Credit card billing; limited consumer appeal; high developer costs
Sources: Pyramid Research, Light Reading Mobile, and vendors

For a closer look at these app stores, check out: — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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