If you purchase a Windows Phone or BlackBerry 10 smartphone, don’t expect to download the same applications your friends are using on their iPhones and Android devices. A new report from research firm Canalys has found that a majority of the top Android and iOS applications still aren’t available on Windows Phone or BlackBerry 10. When combined, the two operating systems were found to only support 34% of the top 50 free and top 50 paid applications in the App Store and Google Play in the United States.
The Windows Phone Store offered 16 of the top 50 free apps from the App Store, and 14 of the top 50 paid apps. The operating system fared slightly better when compared to Google Play, offering 22 of the top 50 free Android apps and 13 of the top 50 paid apps. BlackBerry World, on the other hand, contained BlackBerry 10 versions of only five of the top 50 free iPhone apps, nine of the top 50 paid iPhone apps, 11 of the top 50 free Androids apps and 11 of the top 50 paid Android apps.
“These stats underscore the scale of the job Microsoft and BlackBerry each still face in their respective bids to build up their app ecosystems, and to deliver still more compelling – and crucially – genuinely competitive offerings around apps, and both vendors must continue to work hard to rise to the challenge,’ said Canalys senior analyst, Tim Shepherd. “The availability of key apps is a factor in motivating consumers’ initial mobile device purchasing decisions, and it will only become more so. But moreover, it is a major factor in determining ongoing consumer satisfaction.”
Microsoft announced earlier this month that the Windows Phone Store now has more than 145,000 apps, while BlackBerry revealed that more than 120,000 BlackBerry 10 and ported Android apps combined are now available in BlackBerry World. Despite both companies boasting about the size and growth of their app stores, it remains clear that Microsoft and BlackBerry’s platforms still don’t offer apps consumers actually want to use.
“Simply, Windows Phone and BlackBerry customers do not want to miss out on apps (or app features) from important and locally relevant brands, or the latest games, because of their choice of smart phone,” Shepherd said. “It is therefore imperative for the success of both Windows Phone and BlackBerry that their respective app ecosystems attract and offer the high-quality content that consumers want and would otherwise miss.”
The analyst explained that to be successful, Microsoft and BlackBerry don’t need to offer the vast amount of apps Google and Apple do, but they need to focus on attracting bigger players. The success of the ecosystems is linked very closely to the success of both platforms.
“At a certain point, how many apps are in a store becomes irrelevant. Offering 100 different unit converters or weather apps is not a valuable choice,” he said. “What is now far more important for BlackBerry and Microsoft is to focus on plugging inventory gaps and making sure they offer the right apps; to focus on quality and local relevance, not quantity. They must ensure they are attracting and proactively encouraging apps from the locally relevant brands in their key markets, such as retailers, banks, transport services and airlines, news, sport and weather providers, and popular online content, services, communities and games.”