It’s been 10 months since Microsoft implemented their new and “improved” app search in the Store, and one glaring issue still exists: Keywords have almost no importance compared to the title of apps.
This means that if you make a calendar app, and don’t have the word “calendar” in your app’s title, it probably won’t show up in search results unless your app is EXTREMELY popular compared to the rest.
For example, a search for “calculator” brings up some none-popular app called “Calculator+”, which only has 20 reviews. This is because Microsoft made it so that if you add a “+” sign after a keyword in a title, your app automatically gets a big boost in the search results!
And where are popular calculator apps, like Calculator², with 343 reviews? It’s not even displayed in the search results! Simply because his app’s title doesn’t have exactly “calculator” or “calculator+” in it!
There has been a MSDN thread about this since October of 2012, but nothing has ever been done to fix this obvious issue.
Thus, developers are forced to use generic names instead of creative names if they want to appear in search results.
ABI Research has looked at App Stores from Google, Apple and Microsoft, and ranked them in terms of implementation and innovation.
It will come as no surprise that the iOS App store led in terms of monetization, large market share over the app industry, and the ability to achieve a large inventory of titles while maintaining a reasonably strict quality control.
However when it come to innovation ABI Research found the Windows Phone Store ahead of iOS and Google Play.
Senior analyst Aapo Markkanen comments, â€œAlthough Apple has done a great job capitalizing on App Storeâ€™s head start as an app distributor, it should really start re-thinking the way it charts the top apps. Microsoft should be lauded for its initiative to extend its ranking algorithm beyond raw download figures, by including factors that can actually measure the customer satisfaction and retention. Retention-based charts are less prone to manipulation, so as an additional plus Microsoft can also afford being more transparent about its approach. Moves like this can help break the developers free from the â€˜tyranny of downloadsâ€™, decrease their reliance on costly marketing campaigns, and thus lower the barriers to entry.â€
Read the full release atÂ ABI Research here.
There has been a lot of noise recently about a shortage of apps in Windows Phone 7 Marketplace.
Winsource has done some research and found 76% of the 100 most popular app on Windows Phone, both paid and free, were cross-platform apps present also in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
The other 24% are mainly Xbox Live games (10) or other games.
The result suggests both that Windows Phone has been good at drawing developers from other platforms to Marketplace, and that those developers are often rewarded by a high rank in the sales charts.
In our estimate there are now more than 10 million Windows Phones out there, which I think it a pretty viable size to support developers and make it worth their while porting their apps to Windows Phone, especially when their sales start flagging on iOS and Android.
The message â€“ jump in, the water is fine!
After a number of applications in the iPhone App Store were found uploading user data to their servers (I suspect the same applied to the same apps in Marketplace) the California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced an agreement with with six companies whose platforms comprise the majority of the mobile apps market: Amazon, Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and Research In Motion that will see the consumers warned better of privacy implications of apps PRIOR to downloading them, and also educate developers to best practices.
The agreement will see Marketplace:
- There will also be a requirement to provide links to the relevant documents in an obvious and consistent location.
- Each app store will provide a simple way for users to report developers that violate the rules.
- Each platform is committed to educating developers about their obligations to respect consumer privacy and to disclose what private information they collect, how it is used and how it is shared.
â€œCalifornia has a unique commitment to protecting the privacy of our residents. Our constitution directly guarantees a right to privacy, and we will defend it," said Attorney General Harris. "Forging this common statement of mobile privacy principles shows the power of collaboration — among government, industry and consumers — to create solutions to problems no one group can tackle alone."
The date when these new policies will come into action has not been announced.
See the full press release at Engadget here.
Research2Guidance have released some numbers suggesting once again that the Windows Phone 7 marketplace deserves attention from developers.
They show, compared to the iOS App store, each app will get 80% more downloads on average, ie. a random app on iOs may get 100 downloads per month on iOS and 180 in Marketplace.
This of course is due to the hypercompetitive iOS market, with more than 400,000 other apps to compete with.
While some have joked Windows Phone 7 has more apps than users, in fact with 30,000 apps and 5 million + users, Windows Phone 7 actually has much less available apps per user, making it a significantly easier environment for a developer to compete in. Of course Marketplace has less potential for run-away hits which make random developers rich, but for the average developer it may be a better option than the crowded iOS and Android platform.
Symbian also sees high downloads per app, due to a massive legacy user base and small number of apps, despite relatively unengaged users, with RIMs store benefiting from a similar element.
The fact that Windows Phone 7, with only a fraction of the installed base as Symbian or RIM, and apps stores of roughly the same size, has downloads per app in between the two suggests Windows Phone 7 users are voracious app downloaders, much more so than Symbian and Blackberry users, and as the user base of Windows Phone 7 users grow developers will also see significantly more profit on the platform also.
See more data at Research2Guidance.com here.
According to WindowsPhoneAppList (somewhat more reliable than TechCrunch) marketplace has finally hit the 30,000 app milestone.Â Marketplace took 312 days to reach that point, somewhat slower than the iPhone, but nearly 7 months faster than the Android Market.
The progress is still following the trajectory of the iPhone App Store more or less, but with some slow down recently, possibly due to Mango and restrictions Microsoft placed on spam apps.
As can be seen from the graph above it is still growing much faster than the Android, which took 512 days to hit 30,000 apps.
The 30,000 number is significant in one other way â€“ 30,000 apps is often the number which has been quoted for the total number of applications available for Windows Mobile.Â Of course there are classes of apps available for Windows Mobile, like FTP clients, which are not at all available for Windows Phone 7, but with the advent of Mango this will likely change rapidly.
47% of apps are free, 20% have trials and 33% are paid and do not. Only 17% of apps are games,Â and books and reference is a troubling 14% of â€œappsâ€.Â At least Marketplace is spared the â€œThemesâ€ flood common on the Blackberry, Symbian and Android app stores.
Are our readers finding what they want more often in Marketplace? Let us know below.
Thanks Bugbog for the tip.
Taking their cue from Steve Jobs, who called 2011 the year of the copier and promptly stole all the best ideas from Android and Windows Phone 7, this iPhone developer basically stole the design from the Diving calculator and log book wholesale from German developer Sven Knoch.
Sven is still to have words with the copyist, but would appreciate if buyers who want a clean metro designed dive log turn to his app, in Marketplace here, rather than a bad knock-off in the app store.
U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis Hamilton has struck down Appleâ€™s initial request for an injunction against Amazon for the use of the trademarked term App Store.
Judge Hamilton has ruled Apple failed to prove that its App Store trademark is â€œprominent and renownedâ€ further adding that several other companies use the phrase â€œapp storeâ€ to describe a place from which mobile software can be purchased and downloaded â€” in much the same way people describe a place where you can purchase groceries as a grocery store, or hardware as a hardware store.
Hamilton also took issue with Appleâ€™s assertion that Amazonâ€™s Appstore would allow malicious or inappropriate apps to enter the market and that would harm the companyâ€™s reputation. Thatâ€™s highly unlikely, she stated, since Amazon doesnâ€™t offer downloads for iOS devices.
The case is still to go to full trial, but with the judge already ruling that App Store is in generic use Apple does not seem to have much legs to stand on.
Microsoft has been one company who has come out in support of App Store generic term, suggesting at some point we may start hearing about the Microsoft Windows Phone App Store ?
A coalition of smartphone OEMs including Microsoft, HTC, Nokia, and Sony Ericsson have formally filed an application to get Appleâ€™s European trademark for the words "App Store" and "Appstore" invalidated.
The companies told the Community Trade Mark office in Europe the words were too generic, and joined Amazon who is currently involved in a similar action.
"Today’s filings by HTC, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, and Microsoft, like Amazon’s recent action, demonstrate the breadth of opposition to Apple’s unsupportable claim of exclusivity," a Microsoft representative said in a statement. "’App store,’ like ‘toy store’ or ‘book store,’ is a generic term that should continue to be available for everyone to use for stores that sell apps." Like Amazon the new applications note that even Steve Jobs used the words App Store generically and that the name has been and is already in use by others like Shopify, Sendmail, and DirectTV.
The move follows a similar action in USA which followed Apple suing Amazon for the use of the word.
Read more at CNET here.
PCWorld has had a look at the various app stores, and have come to the conclusion that, when it comes to the top apps that matter, the Apple App Store is not that far ahead anymore, even when compared to the smaller app stores like the Windows phone 7 marketplace.
Comparing the top 35 apps in iPhone App Store, and including the apps for which alternatives exist, the Android Market had 32 same or similar apps, and the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace 27. After this the Ovi Store had 24, Blackberry App World 22 and the Palm App Catalog 21.
For years Apple has marketed the iPhone by emphasizing its slick apps, with the mantra "There’s an app for that." But shoppers don’t have to fear being deprived of mobile apps should they select a competing phone.
Our prediction is that the playing field will continue to level out when it comes to available cross-platform apps. Apple’s App Store and the Android Market may always be top dogs in terms of app variety. But as the clichÃ© goes, it’s all about quality, not quantity–and that’s true for both apps and hardware.
Read their full report here.
Application security has been identified as the biggest threat to smartphone users and the businesses supporting them at the Infosecurity Europe 2011 conference, and it also appears to be an area most mobile OS makers pay scant regard to.
Speaking to an overflowing Business Theatre at the event, the Veracode founder and CTO Chris Wysopal warned while risks existed at all layers, application security deserved more attention.
Noting that apps can either purposeful malicious or inadvertently place users at risk, he listed 10 ways apps can compromise users. The list includes:
- Activity monitoring and data retrieval
- Unauthorized dialing, SMS, and payments
- Unauthorized network connectivity (data exfiltration or command & control)
- UI (unique identifier) impersonation
- System modification (rootkit, APN proxy configuration)
- Logic or time bomb
- Sensitive data leakage (inadvertent or side channel)
- Unsafe sensitive data storage
- Unsafe sensitive data transmission
- Hardcoded password/keys
Application stores are meant to curate the safety and quality of apps, but Wysopal noted that not all are created equal â€“ at least, not from a security perspective. While all app stores can revoke apps, the iPhone App Store seems mainly concerned with the user experience, and of course the Android Market is famous for its laissez faire approach to security.
â€œApple is famous for their walled garden and has an approval processâ€, Wyspoal noted. â€œBut itâ€™s not clear that they are looking at security issues. They seem to care about user experience and policies.â€
Conversely, Wysopal continued, the app market for the Windows phone has the â€œstrongestâ€ security process, whereby it runs a static analysis for malware as part of its approval method.
Wysopal provided dozens of real-world examples of how applications have absconded with user data using various methods on the Top Ten.
â€œThe risks on a mobile device are very differentâ€, Wyspoal said. â€œItâ€™s highly, highly portable as you carry it on you all the time, so from a privacy standpoint, things like your [immediate] location are more sensitive than the location of your desktop at work, for instance.â€
Read more at infosecurity-us.com here.
Update: According to Windows Phone App List and Marketplace Browser the 10,000 app milestone has been passed. As reported below, this was achieved much faster than Android and on pace with the App Store.
WindowsPhoneapplists.com reports nearly 1200 applications have been added in the last 2 weeks, which is an acceleration on the usual 1000.
While the quality of apps is as important as the number, the WP7 Marketplace has already surpassed lesser rivals like webOS some months ago, and if one ignores the 11,000 spam apps (ebooks and themes) in Blackberry App World is nipping at the heels of its much larger rival.
It took the Android Market 11 months to reach the 10,000 app mile stone, something the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace is set to achieve in little more than 4 1/2 months.
In fact the Windows Phone 7 marketplace will hit the milestone even faster than the iPhone app store, which did it in 142 days, according to 148apps.com. At the time Apple took out a full page newspaper ad, but of course goal posts have moved on a bit since then.
The question of course remains whether growth will go exponential or remain linear, but there is no arguing that this is a very good start.
Thanks Kevin D for the tip.
Microsoft has contested Apple’s claim to “App Store” as a trademark. In an opposition filing to the US Patent and Trademark Office, Microsoft argues that it’s far too generic a phrase, based around the idea that both “app” and “store” are generic descriptive nomenclature.
‘App’ is a common generic name for the goods offered at Apple’s store, as shown in dictionary definitions and by widespread use by Apple and others.
‘Store’ is generic for the ‘retail store services’ for which Apple seeks registration, and indeed, Apple refers to its ‘App Store” as a store.
Precedent is on Microsoft’s side: the USPTO has previously denied trademarks to similar phrases, such as “The Computer Store”, and Steve Jobs himself in one of his trademark rants referred to the various Android marketplaces as app stores:
In addition to Google’s own app marketplace, Amazon, Verizon and Vodafone have all announced that they are creating their own app stores for Android. There will be at least four app stores on Android which customers must search through to find the app they want and developers will need to work to distribute their apps and get paid.
What difference will the ruling make one way or another? Probably very little, as while Microsoft and others have been forced to use cumbersome phrases like “virtual store for apps” in their official literature, in common parlance pretty much everyone already calls app stores app stores – which is exactly what Microsoft are arguing.
via The Register.