Monday, September 15, 2014

Application Market Places and their Alternatives

Alternative app markets are becoming more and more popular. They are literally popping up right and left and there are now approximately 30 of them. Although most of these third party platforms cannot even be mentioned in the same article with the originals, there are a few markets that are definitely
worth a mention.

Alternative to what?

But before we can talk about alternative markets we have to ask ourselves: alternative to what? Let’s take a quick look at the main market places.

The two biggest application market places are of course owned by Apple and Google. Apple’s App Store was established in July of 2008 and Google’s Android Market followed only three months later, in October of the same year. Now, three years later, the amount of available apps in the Android Market is estimated at 480,000, while the App Store’s estimate is 425,000.

Although some people would assume so, Apple and Google aren’t the only big companies with application market places. Some other markets worth mentioning are Nokia’s Ovi Store with over 83,000 available apps, RIM’s App World with over 37,000 available apps, Microsoft’s Windows Phone Marketplace with almost 30,000 available apps and the App Catalog, co-owned by HP and Palm with a little over 7,000 available apps.

Open space vs. propriety

Going back to the two big markets, the real difference between Apple and Google is their approach to the device platform. While the App Store is based on propriety, the Android Market is based on open source. There is a big difference between open source and propriety: open source allows anyone who wants to do whatever they want with an open source platform, as opposed to propriety where they don’t.

Apple’s App store device platform is iOS which as mentioned is a propriety platform, while Google’s Android Market’s device platform is open source. In other words, what Apple is saying is that their platform is theirs and only theirs. While Google is saying that when users purchase a device, it’s theirs to do with it whatever they want.

And since Apple wants to approve every single app, there are so many alternative platforms for Android and not that many for Apple.

The Alternatives

One of the main alternative platforms is the Amazon Appstore which is based on the android device platform. Amazon Appstore is pretty new; it was established less than six months ago in March 2011, but already has 3,800 available apps. The Amazon Appstore has a big advantage: Amazon is a very big and profitable company with a great ability to move products. Therefore it is considered to be a serious competitor to the Android Market.

Another alternative market is GetJar. Established in 2004, this platform is actually one of the oldest platforms out there and has close to 70,000 available apps. GetJar has a free launching service and therefore is popular amongst users with web based apps. On the down side, it seems that GetJar is cluttered with too many shortcuts to mobile sites.

The next app market worth a mention is SlideMe. Established at April 2008, SlideMe has over 8,000 available apps. The big advantage of this platform is its straightforwardness and the categories which are very basic.

Another alternative app market that is showing potential is the Opera Mobile App Store. Like Amazon’s platform, Opera was released in March of 2011. This alternative market offers an account based sales experience where you can register more than one device and you can keep track of your downloads.

As mentioned above, it is no surprise that most of these alternative app markets’ platform devices are android. There is a big competition in the app markets which is always good for the end consumer. Google making android an open source is what’s encouraging this competition. Thank you Android for letting us do whatever we want with your platform!

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