The analysis was conducted along five parameters which GIA deem to be key success factors; time to market, the ability to attract developers, the rate of device adoption, an efficient interface and user experience, and having a critical mass of attractive applications.
Competition among handset manufacturers and operators is intense, with different market players rushing to add features related to 3G and 3.5G connectivity. Features include multimedia tools, GPS location based services and initial tests for Near Field Communication. Market players have been taking different approaches to nurturing and consolidating their application ecosystems, some of which have been more successful than others, said Mr. Erwin Baumgartner, Head of GIA's Information Technology Practice in Asia-Pacific. Applications can make all the difference, and manufacturers like Apple, who see the smart phone more as a software platform than as a set of hardware features have the ability to position themselves miles ahead of the competition.
1. GIA first identified five key factors determining the success or failure of mobile application marketplaces: (1) time to market, (2) the ability to attract developers, (3) the rate of device adoption, (4) an efficient interface and user experience, and (5) having a critical mass of attractive applications.
2. Key contenders Apple, the Open Handset Alliances Android, Nokias Ovi, Microsofts Skymarket, Blackberry and Palm were then assessed to determine which platform has the leading edge.
3. Apples iPhone App Store emerges as the current leader based on its early presence as well as the number, variety and appeal of applications available. (See Rankings Table)
4. Android by Open Handset Alliance (OHA) is held back by the lack of devices available as of now while Ovi by Nokia needs to line up developers and applications before its launch.
5. Microsofts Windows Mobile will have to take care of legacy fragmentation and release more concrete plans on when the release of its marketplace will happen.
6. Blackberry will have to focus on transforming the perception of its devices from a pure business focus to fully functional multimedia with cool applications.
7. Palm needs to keep the momentum, following the launch of Pre and accelerate the pace of getting the device and matching applications ready for consumers.