GET SMART: Whatever your phone, there’s an app just for you. Picture: SUPPLIED
Competition for pole position within the digital lifestyle market is expected to heat up in 2012.
Players are eyeing the rollout of apps to complement smartphone offerings as a channel through which to attract consumer interest. Gartner researchers name services such as money transfers, mobile search and browsing, instant messaging and music as some of the top apps to be made available in 2012.
Globally established mobile phone brands are capitalising on growth in the smartphone space, as evident in the impact of the Android market. A recent AFP report, posted online (www.pcmag.com), referred to ABI research that indicated Google’s Android mobile app download market overtook Apple’s in the second quarter of this year.
Google has been quoted in recent media reports as saying that more than 10 billion Android applications have been downloaded. Brand managers are using every resource available to meet consumer requirements, such as the availability of instant information, practical guides, quick automated reference and entertainment.
“The mobile industry is evolving, and this constant change has seen more devices and software applications come into the market. There’s been an evolution in applications like music, ringtones, wallpapers and logos,” says Mike Fairon, GM of product innovation and development at MTN SA.
“MTN has exposed its customers to application stores which offer everything from travel, music and social networking to news. The application store industry has been dominated by handset vendors, applications developers, as well as independent app stores,” explains Fairon.
According to MTN, consumers are seeking local apps, developed by a community that understands what works and is needed by local users. The company has positioned its apps@play developer community, PlayLabs, as a driver for local and relevant apps into next year and beyond.
Management at Research in Motion (RIM), the company behind the BlackBerry solution, believes the reduction in tariffs associated with mobile broadband and smartphone data is driving growth within mobile apps throughout Africa.
“In many parts of the continent, financial services such as banks are far and few between and travel costs are high. Being able to transact from a smartphone can save a person living in rural Africa a great deal of time and money. Apps are therefore becoming an important consideration in the average user’s mobile device purchasing decision,” says Robyn Milham, head of enterprise sales for southern Africa at RIM.
The company refers to IDC research which projects that the mobile consumer, application driven industry will be worth more than $35bn (about R288bn) by 2014. According to statistics from IDC last year, consumers downloaded more than 10 billion apps and this number is set to skyrocket to more than 76 billion by 2014. To leverage off the opportunities, RIM has positioned its BlackBerry App World at the forefront of its service to consumers.
“This is opening up new possibilities for consumers, by giving them access to instant messaging, mobile banking, email, media content and other powerful applications.
“Companies can communicate instantly through apps like BBM, access financial calculators and trackers like HandyLogs Money, business travel utilities like BlackBerry Travel, contact management tools like gwabbit,” adds Milham.
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