Which Is The Best App Store For Your Business Phone?

The Nielsen Group released recent data tracking the national usage of available mobile app stores as well as their overall mobile market shares. the three that came out on top in terms of market share were the iPhone App Store, BlackBerry App Store and Verizon Media Store, according to survey results released by Slate’s The big Money. However, Kevin Kelleher reports that even though Google’s Android Market does not hold a huge amount of the market share, it is still seeing the second-largest number of downloaded mobile apps. iPhone owners have an average of 37 apps on their phones whereas Android users have 22 and those loyal to BlackBerry have 10.

In April 2009, the tech site Gizmodo did a comprehensive review of app stores a year, focusing on their friendliness toward developer innovation, after most of them had opened up shop. a year later, which are coming out on top, and which are working well for entrepreneurs and fulfilling business needs?

No. 1: the iTunes App Store

Not surprisingly, taking up 25% of the mobile app market share is the iTunes App Store for iPhone. It continues to set the standard by which the others are judged. Why? because it has proven to be a good gauge of which apps work and a good space in which app developers can thrive. It also has great apps across the board, from those for social networking, like the free Facebook and many free Twitter apps, to those for business marketing and administration, like Yahoo Finance. While this store only serves one mobile handset, it has been wildly popular, mostly because the app store is connected to the largest uniform app-buying market worldwide. iPhone owners are already familiar with iTunes, which has long managed most of their MP3 music purchases, so the fact that distribution, payments, and marketing are managed here is a major benefit.

Tech expert Brian X. Chen of Wired, however, points out some of the negative effects prolific iPhone app developers have had on the overall mobile marketplace: They have encouraged “quantity” over “quality,” creating thousands of apps that are not stellar or even necessarily useful. this can make the process of weeding through apps that will be useful in business a long, not necessarily streamlined process.

No. 2: the Android App Market

While this app store takes up only 2% of the overall market share, it is still the second-most popular among mobile users. Its lack of presence in the marketplace can most likely be attributed to two factors: the lack of available Droid handset models, because of its newness; and pending lawsuits related specifically to apps that have delayed some of its growth and development process. It is considered to be up-and-coming, because there’s still a great deal of buzz about the Android platform, and those using it are rooting for the Market to catch up to what’s available with the iPhone.

A big problem with it is that it’s not the only place for Droid phone users to get their apps, so it’s not necessarily a go-to spot for all developers, meaning it’s holding steady at about 19,000 apps created so far. one of its benefits, however, is that it’s very focused on customer satisfaction and boasts a 24-hour return policy. this can be advantageous to entrepreneurs, because it gives them some time to try out business apps to find out if they are really helpful or just wasted space.

Chen took time to compare his iPhone to his friend’s Droid and noted that his friend’s phone had far fewer apps, and that for gamers in particular, the platform is lacking. many others complain that there are far more “filler” apps in the Android App Market than at other stores, and that they couldn’t find a lot that fit their specific needs and interests.

No. 3: BlackBerry App World

Taking up 16% of the market share, BlackBerry App World store was excitedly received when it opened a few months after Apple’s in 2008. However, many BlackBerry users became quickly disillusioned when they discovered that, despite the fact that developers had been creating BlackBerry apps for years, many of them were and continue to be clunky and dysfunctional. the BlackBerry continues to be the premiere phone for business users, but its app store is not known for innovation. Users say it seems to have been created merely as a reaction to the iPhone app explosion — what Gizmodo called an “aggregator for existing applications” — and that there’s not really any significant app for BlackBerry that did not already exist somewhere else. There’s nothing wrong with this, as BlackBerry handset loyalists will be able to find what they need to do business.

Chen agrees the BlackBerry store is much “clumsier” than Apple’s, but is functional. His complaint is that the new store focuses on more expensive apps and very recent mobile phone models, meaning millions of people who still use older models are excluded.

#4 the Verizon Media Store/Verizon Application Store

Currently, the Verizon Media Store comprises 15% of the mobile market share, and houses not only mobile applications, but also music and other media that extends beyond just smartphones and other mobile devices. While there has been a longstanding battle between the quality of service and coverage offered by Verizon’s network vs. that offered by major competitor AT&T, currently the sole carrier of the iPhone, its disorganized store has left something to be desired. because many Verizon business users have chosen to go with BlackBerry handsets or other types of smartphones, the Media Store is more popular for music downloads than business apps.

That may change: Verizon just announced the launch of its new and improved, dedicated, Verizon Application Store on March 29. this joint venture between Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc. will streamline the process of purchasing applications and allow users to pay for them through their mobile phone bill, making a separate account unnecessary. Whether this will put Verizon further ahead in the game or increase its popularity as a go-to point for business users, regardless of their handsets, remains to be seen, but it marks an innovative step that will distinguish it from Apple and other app stores.

Which Is The Best App Store For Your Business Phone?

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