With every major handset manufacturer planning an app store launch, the fragmented mobile application market gets ever harder to track. Distimo is a young startup (the fresh-faced founders only started the company in May) which provides free analytical reports covering trends in the main mobile application stores; currently the holy trinity of Apple, Android and Blackberry. It also creates paid customized reports aimed at operators and device manufacturers. A free analytics tool called Distimo Monitor, still in closed beta, is available to mobile developers so they can monitor their applications, and those of their competitors, across all the app stores.
Distimo provided us with some UK-specific trend data for August. The overlap in popular apps between US and UK is much higher in the Android market than the Apple app store. Navigation and travel apps have the lowest overlap because of location dependencies.
Where is the money?
The release of Tom Tom’s iPhone navigation application single-handedly caused a big jump in the total price of the top 100 Apple applications. Navigation applications are by far the most expensive catgeory of applications in the UK but games also do well in terms of the top grossing applications. For example, on Sep 18, there were 10 games and 5 navigation apps among the top 20 highest grossing applications in the UK. Entertainment remains the most popular application category overall.
Apple Vs Android
Apple is still the king of the app stores but Distimo expects big growth in the Android market. If Nokia can get its act together and make it easy for Nokia users to download and access applications, it could be the sleeping giant of the application store market due to the sheer volume of Nokia handsets.
Android users seem to be quite different from Applers based on the applications they choose. To me this looks a bit like the Linux-Apple split in the PC world. The highest ranked paid app on Apple in Aug was Camera Genius while the top free app was Sky Sports football score centre. The top paid apps on Android are all admin tools like Power Manager Full. Android users have a curious obsession with the weather putting The Weather Channel at the top of the free apps and a couple of weather widgets in the paid top 10. Social networking applications are more popular with Apple users. Is the iPhone for pleasure-seeking, social butterflys? Are Android fans serious, technical types who don’t trust any piece of hardware as pretty as the iPhone? Answers on a postcard to the TechCrunch Europe cod psychology department.