Today I installed the 2.0 firmware on my iPhone.
The App store is terrific. Of the 500 applications on there now, about 125 of them are free. And the free applications aren’t low quality – you can get Bloomberg, Facebook, AIM, eBay, and others, without charge. Each App “page” contains info about the program, a screenshot, and a link to reviews. Downloading and installing an app over WiFi takes from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. If you want to purchase an App, and so far I’ve bought two (Monkey Ball and Texas Hold ’em) for just $9.99 and $4.99 respectively, you enter your iTunes account password, and you are billed instantly. Quite convenient, and a great experience. The only fault I see with the App store is that there are no free trials offered (as far as I could tell).
I was more than happy to pay such cheap prices for these applications. For something similar that works on Windows Mobile, I know that I’d pay 2-3 times more, because software companies like PocketGear and Handago charge their developers outrageous 40-70% royalty fees on each copy of software sold, whereas Apple charges just 30%. Price really makes a difference, and this scenario won’t change anytime soon. The aforementioned software resellers make their money from royalties, while Apple collects royalties from AT&T, plus profits on iPhone sales. For Apple, selling Apps is just another way to strengthen the iPhone brand; it’s not a profit center.
Where is the Windows Mobile App store? Why hasn’t there been a concerted effort to bring a similar software platform to us? We have tens of thousands of applications, some of which are admittedly crappy, but there are thousands of gems. Sure, you can download programs from a mobile software store from a mobile browser, but it’s not a good experience.
Handango has the right idea with their InHand application, which is a stand alone program that lets you browse their catalog and download apps right from your phone, but still, prices remain prohibitively high on most of their offerings, and the selection of free titles is limited to tip calculators.
Is there any way that Windows Mobile users could benefit from an App store as found on the iPhone? What would it take?