It may not come as much of a surprise to many mobile phone app developers but it looks like the opportunities offered by Windows Phone and BlackBerry OS are coming to an end.
According to the latest report from market researchers Gartner, smart phone sales around the world grew by 4% in the first three months of 2016 but the market share for Windows Phone has dropped since the first quarter last year from 2.5% to just 0.7% this year.
The figures are even worse for BlackBerry; its market share fell by half to 0.2% this year.
In recent months, WhatsApp and Facebook have stopped offering support to the platforms and recently PayPal has dropped them too (see report below).
Now industry experts say there is little point in mobile phone app developers either supporting or releasing apps for BlackBerry and Windows Phones.
However, neither firm is exiting the smartphone market with BlackBerry developing two Android-based phones that are affordable and Microsoft is developing Windows 10 for mobile devices.
Concept of the mobile phone app is changing
An article on Techradar suggests that the concept of what a mobile phone app is, is changing so quickly that we are now entering a post app era.
Not only will the number of apps begin to fall, but how people interact with them will also change.
The article says that users will start to use virtual assistants such as Siri more often rather than use apps for smartphone functionality.
However, the amount of money being generated by apps will continue to grow for the coming years as will the number of apps being installed. Essentially, users are looking for ‘quality’, over ‘quantity’.
Smartphone makers are also adding standard apps to their products which replaces the need for buying and then installing many previously popular apps.
Apparently, by 2020, around 40% of mobile phone interactions, according to market research firm Gartner, will be using virtual private assistants.
Mobile app ads to be blocked
Mobile telephone network Three UK has announced that it is planning to block ads across its service to help keep service user’s bills down and their users safe.
All of their customers will enjoy a trial day in June when they will not see any ads on any pages they visit or apps they use. Three UK says the advertising model is ‘broken’.
Customers will have to sign up for the trial and Three says it does not believe that its customers should be paying for data charges to receive advertisements – instead, this should be borne by the advertiser.
Critics say there are some privacy concerns over ad blocking since Three will have to intercept and then read content being sent to their customer’s phone to determine which parts of it are advertisements.
Google’s new app enables everyone to be a scientist
Google has launched a new mobile phone app which enables budding scientists to access their smartphone sensors to conduct simple experiments. The generated data can then be plotted on graphs and annotated with photos and notes and comparisons made with past measurements.
This means that users can use their phone’s gyroscope, ambient light sensor or accelerometer, for instance, to boost their scientific productivity.
Campaign group takes 30 hours to read T&C’s
The length and complexity of the terms and conditions for many mobile phone apps has been a subject for debate over several years and now one campaign group has read them out aloud.
The campaigners from Norway took more than 30 hours to read out the terms and conditions from a range of common mobile phone apps to highlight what is an impossible task for many consumers.
They also highlighted that many mobile apps ask for permission to do what they like on a consumer’s phone. Among those that were read out were for popular apps including Twitter, Netflix and Facebook.
Now campaigners want mobile phone app developers and publishers to trim T&Cs and say that to compare the effort, it would take someone 70 hours and 40 minutes just to read the Bible.
In other mobile phone app news…
PayPal has announced its support for mobile operating systems is being reduced with BlackBerry, Windows Phone and Amazon Fire OS being discontinued from the end of June. Instead, PayPal will only support iOS and Android.
A survey of satnav apps for smart phones has revealed which are the best. The research was conducted by motoring magazine Autoexpress which found that CoPilot Premium occupied the number one slot followed by TomTom GO mobile and then Waze. They were closely followed by Scout and Google.
Google has announced that it plans on giving Chromebook users access to its Play Store which could offer mobile phone app developers a big opportunity by making their apps available to laptop users with ‘relatively few teaks’, according to one mobile app expert.