Application Stores Don’t Have All The Apps

In an blog post titled…

Smartphones: A Look At The App Count, Market Share Disconnect

…ZDnet compares the number of applications a platform has against the platform’s marketshare. The article uses Gartner’s smartphone sales numbers for 2009 and application catalog information from Distimo to point out a disconnect between the number of applications available for a platform and the platform’s marketshare. While iPhone and Android have gained marketshare and have the most number of applications in their stores, RIM and Windows Mobile have maintained leads in marketshare despite having smaller application stores. The article concludes that there is a disconnect, presuming that the larger application store catalog is not contributing significantly to the marketshare gains of the iPhone and Android platforms.

I think there are a couple of flaws in the conclusion. First, RIM and Windows Mobile, while being bought by consumers, are largely enterprise mobile platforms. Application stores are not a signficant criteria for corporate decisions on which mobile platform to use, and in fact many corporations may prefer that the devices used by employees did not have application stores. My read of the Smartphone platform marketshare numbers from Gartner is that smartphones are still being sold mostly to corporations, but consumers sales are gaining.

The application numbers that ZDNet uses are for application stores. While such stores exist for RIM and Windows Mobile, they are newcomers to the market. More importantly, because the platforms have existed for longer than iPhone and Android, the actual number of applications available for them are significantly higher than the numbers shown on the Distimo slide. You can find thousands of Windows Mobile applications on the Internet, in web-based application stores like PocketGear and Handango. If the actual number of applications for RIM and Windows Mobile were on the slide, I think you would see a closer relationship between marketshare and application counts.