Post-PC Era Will Have Many Platforms

One of the pit falls when looking at the mobile market is thinking that the same rules that exist for personal computers apply to mobile devices. The mobile and PC markets are entirely different, and I think that is important for social media companies to keep in mind. In a recent blog post Horace Dediu makes the case that the Post-PC era, or what you could also call the social media era, will be a multi-platform era.

In the article Dediu focuses on the 25,000 apps that are currently in the Windows Phone Marketplace, and states that while that is a very small number in comparison to the Android Market and the iTunes App Store, it is a high number when you consider how few people own Windows Phones. According to Dediu, one Windows Phone is being activated for every 28 Android devices.

The question is, why are so many developers spending time writing apps for a platform that has far fewer users? In the PC era, developers only wrote for the platforms that had a high number of users because of the high cost of developing those apps, and there were fewer ways to sell their apps. Today it is relatively easy for anyone to write an iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, or webOS app, and submit it to app stores where their app can be bought by all of the users of those phones.

Dediu states that because developers are willing to spread their apps across multiple platforms that means it can be possible for small platforms to continue to exist and that there won’t be one or two major players who will win the mobile platform war. If you are a developer of a social media app considering only developing for one or two platforms, you might want to weigh the potential sales you could gain on the “small” platforms against the incremental cost of developing for them.