There are currently 4 dominating OS in the mobile world
- Windows Phone 8
- Blackberry OS10
While there are many more OSes in the horizon like Tizen, Firefox OS, Ubuntu etc. the current crop is itself fighting for the users with all their might. There are many criteria that will come into play for who will succeed in the new crop (if they will succeed). Even when the mobile wars started, few criterion were always on the top list.
And the top of the heap was – Apps.
The mobile world is App oriented and thus how many apps a platform has, becomes important. Once Apple boasted of having more apps than anyone but now with Android having hundreds of thousands of apps as well, the boasting is gone. Windows is pushing its app market as well luring designers, creators to its platform.
Blackberry of course has decided on a unique approach (and a right one) by emulating Android apps on their platform. What this means basically is that everyone knows the importance of Apps now. You can have the best OS design and it would fail miserably because there would not be enough apps for it.
This is true for the coming OSes, but does it apply to the OS that are already here?
- First question to ask is- “How many apps does a platform needs?”
- Second question– “How many apps a person uses?”
- Third question– “How many apps can a person store at a time?”
Let’s start from the third question. Most of the high end phones come with inbuilt memory of 16 GB at least. Out of this, 4GB is for apps and rest is for user content. So, a person can store 4 GB worth of apps at least. This can always be increased by using apps like ‘Move2SD’. Let us make a rough estimate of an app requiring 5 MB on an average.
This means a person can store around 800 apps at a time at max. Of course, this is very theoretical and in practice because the games apps are around hundreds of MBs, the actual apps come out less. Still, let’s go with this number.
The second question now-
Even if one keeps 800 apps he cannot use them all at once. It is not possible because either the app will be automatic like an app like Truecaller or 3G mobile data watching app or it will be a game app. For the first one, the phone limitations will come into place (you cannot run more than 8-10 apps at a time without slowing the phone down). The second type of apps need human interaction and a person cannot use 500 apps at a same time or even in a day or week.
Another thing is that some tasks like backup, antivirus etc are like where a person does not change his apps very often as well.
In my personal experience, if I am not surveying or reviewing apps, I need less than a 100 apps and most do not change over time (except for the game ones).
Now, let’s say that for the urgent work like Office, antivirus etc. we need variations as every person’s needs are different. I will take 7 as a magical number for each task. If any particular task has 7 good apps rest all won’t be missed. This is a number that might be wrong but let’s take a leap of faith here.
Games are a different story though. If they do not have a replay value then people change after finishing them. So, if I say, that 70% of apps in a person’s phone are games then out of 800, 240 are apps that need 7 variations. This means 1680 apps for work. Let’s round it to 2000.
Rest is the games apps that will be changed often. If a person changes a game every week then if a year the number comes to around 30000 apps. In five years it comes to 150,000 apps.
This is the number of apps needed till now for a platform in five years.
Let’s see the current numbers-
- Windows- 150,000
Even windows has this many apps. Blackberry can already run Android apps. My point in all this is that all the hoopla around the number of apps is now not important for the big platforms.
The only thing that matters is that if a new app succeeds then in which platform is it not available. It’s not about the 500000 apps that are present but the 100,000 apps that are trending and popular right now among the users.
In fact, for the new OSes, if they can come up with good apps for a few tasks like social (facebook, twitter), office, backup and pull a few app developers (Whatsapp, Angry Birds, Cut the rope etc.) in their platform then they should get a decent start with respect to apps and not bother about the sheer numbers.
PS- The numbers are just an estimate and might be off by some margin. The important thing was to represent the idea.
[This article has been posted by Kunal Prakash]