App Store Economics
We’ve been doing lot’s of studying recently about the economics of the App Store. How things move and shake and what patterns there are about what’s popular, useful or worth spending money on.
Over the last month this has been the most revealing pattern we’ve seen.
App Store Top Grossing Lists by Device
24/24 Top Grossing Apps are Games.
11/25 Top Grossing Apps are Games.
4/25 Top Grossing Apps are Games.
There are so many bewildering and interesting pieces of information you can pull away from just this evidence itself and you could scratch your head for days. The biggest divergence in understanding this data is related to a Market Penetration vs. Leisure comparison. As in..
Are the early adopters the people who do and make things and don’t waste any time playing games?
Is the iPhone the most suitable game playing device in the world right now?
Both of these questions could be true. Ultimately this data boils down to the point that the device your creating content for has a enormous amount of importance in the way it’s value is delivered. Because this is the list for top grossing I think this data is suggesting the time/leisure/desire for productivity factor in the application consumation of your life.
Computer = Do things.
iPhone = Talk to your friends and play games and stuff.
iPad = Not sure yet / somewhere in-between.
Just some early thoughts on this one. Definitely going to keep up more data and stories around this device pattern. Let us know what you think!
Some more photos, these are from Ad age’s CAT event.
Internet Week is Insane
It’s wednesday afternoon, and we’re just getting started with Internet Week. New York truly has a passionate and emerging tech scene. It’s amazing to be involved in the atmosphere of innovation here in the big apple.
Now for some photos.
Our first session we checked out, talking about mobile startups and how they are blowing up around NYC. Founder of Four Square and Group Me gave the talk.
I think they might be giving away that car… maybe?
This is one of the classrooms for more in depth sessions.
Perhaps General Assembly and Quantic Fox will soon be professionally acquainted?
From the reservoir in Central Park.
New York? Yeah, New York
Black eyed peas concert getting setup in the park, just happened to walk by it. Lots of colors. Hopefully will fare better than their super bowl attempt…
Internet Week in NYC
We love this city.
This week, our team has the opportunity to be involved in some of the crazy events running non-stop for Internet Week.
Check back for pictures and updates as we connect with the tech world in NYC.
New York, Florida, and Working Well With Others
Two of us are in New York.
Two of us are in Florida.
And one is somewhere in North Carolina.
That’s the team.
We’re small but agile. Persistent and passionate.
But even with having the benefit of being in the same time zone, our communication has taken a hit with the move.
We’ve been in the process of deciding how to efficiently navigate this new way of working and how to optimize our communication.
So far it’s revolved around trust. Without autonomy, creativity tends to be stifled. We all love the mission of Quantic Fox and we all have to trust now more than ever that everyone’s passion is aligned, though physically we are separated.
On the technical side, we’re also building our intranet and finishing initiatives that will lead to better project management.
We’ve downloaded ‘Verbs’ from the app store so that we’re almost always available on gChat, and we’re still looking for any other technological advantages available that will help us continue to gain speed as a company.
What about you? Have you dealt with working away from a centralized office location? Share your experiences and start a conversation.
We’re always excited to learn from community
Yes, That City
We love Orlando. It’s a beautiful place.
We love New York City more.
So we did what anyone else might do given the aforementioned circumstances.
We moved to Manhattan.
Quantic Fox is setting up second shop in one of the greatest cities in the world.
There are some game-changing developments coming in the next few weeks. If you want to come by and say hi in the city, we’d love to tell you more. Check out our new space below.
It’s going to be a great summer.
IntoNow & The Bubble Gun
When the TechCrunch article surfaced of 12 week-young startup IntoNow getting purchased for $20-$30 million, the conversations started picking up everywhere. The implications of this acquisition in itself are rather important and interesting, but the significance in reference to the overall explosions happening in the mobile market, and in reference to what some really intelligent digital builders and investors are saying - The implications suddenly get much more interesting, in any way you can look at it.
Before taking a look at more of the takeaways from what all of this really means for the mobile industry, let’s take a look at why IntoNow won the quickness of the buyout war before any of it’s competitors (GetGlue or Miso) got bought out.
Looking at this from a user experience perspective being met with some of the metrics behind IntoNow’s blow-out success can give us some good understanding as to what it takes to create a product that stands out.
IntoNow does a great job at giving a clean, simplified and most importantly human-centered approach to it’s overall design appeal. It’s making use of a pretty familar landing page trend of showing the app in action with big huge photos, not unlike the Boxee homepage - Which I wrote about a few months ago, and not much unlike neighboring Palo Alto company’s Alphonso Labs or FlipBoard. This is a creates an experience that moves these buttons on a screen to something that’s touchable and understandable. It’s inviting. A trend we’ve definitely been seeing in application web design and will be seeing more of.
Looking at the IntoNow homepage ↓
There are a few other things that make the experience of using this device seem more enticing to a first visitor - The grey bars at the bottom of the main content section are constantly scrolling through updates from real users tracking shows they’re watching. It’s pretty incredible to see how quickly the bar’s move around - Another huge help to why IntoNow got bought out before it’s competitors was its extremely high usage rate - 1M tags in 4 weeks.
It’s no doubt that a home page has to be well encompassing of three things, all equally contributing to the others success.
1 - All in all it has to be inviting. Inviting by appealing to the sense of humanity that we share and are each looking for in a mobile device. Big giant photo’s of phone’s in peoples hands and on desks are a great, quick and simple way to get this outcome.
2 - The messaging has to be consistent. Congruous in both pitch and story-telling, but equally important is consistency of visual appeal. It’s an easy trap to fall into to think that you need to tell your story so elaborately and you have to add juicy new details every time you say it. There is a definite need when presenting yourself online to tell your story in a few places - with a few words and to just simply let it be. Use the same two sentences over and over and over.
3 - It has to be simple. So simple that a 3rd grader could pick the app up and figure out what to do - that they could even come across your messaging and get a simple idea.
IntoNow also did some really cool things in incorporating their brand all the way through to the Mobile App. This is so extremely important because there is just as much chance that a user could have a first experience with your brand in the mobile interface as they could with the web version.
IntoNow’s first open screen is equally as inviting, consistent and simple as its web appeal.
The show homepage shows lots of details with organization, showing a great understand of mobile app interface design.
With every little bit of detail the brand adds - they’ve stayed true to these three things - keeping the overall appeal so human, consistent and simple. I really do believe this gave them a much greater overall design appeal for a user’s experience which got them more instant usage and an incredibly fast acquisition.
There was also another interesting piece that added value to the user experience. IntoNow has almost separately branded their patented indexing technology called SoundPrint. There is an interesting perception given when the “technology behind the technology” even has a pretty face. I’ve yet to see, and can’t think of another application that really took this strategy and I really think it was a great decision - They even offer using the SoundPrint API.
After all -
A great experience requires vision. It could require rock solid engineering. It requires hustle and elbow grease. It often requires massive amounts of creativity. I could go on. Those things could be more important than whether or not you designed for edge cases, for example. - D. Keith Robinson via Jason Putori
Monetization Strategy It’s definitely pretty easy to get caught up in how well this app did in creating a great user experience -
But they also did something that was pretty special in it’s own right, they made tons of cash - super quick. It’s also extremely easy to forget to think just as long and hard about how your actually going to make some capital and it’s direct proportional relationship to your success as a tech venture. Mashable reported that IntoNow was closing in on 600,000 users in their short lifespan - calculate out the price they were charging for the service $4.99 - They had almost passed a net sales mark of $3M
580,000 Users * $4.99 App Price = $2.9M Not all that shabby for only 12 weeks of existence. This is only their sales figures as well - The revenue generated from advertising partnerships with MTV and Pepsi are probably not all too shabby either.
*Updated thanks to Didier Hilhorst I had previously written that IntoNow was charging $4.99 per download (information I had gotten via a comment in the TechCrunch Article) but Didier helped me get this fixed.
The fact that IntoNow never charged for the app does ease some simple questions in my mind about how it was possible to get almost 600,000 users at a rather steep price for an app. Being free is definitely extremely valuable for such an early and quick adoption - but it shows potentially even more power and resiliency in the app’s ability to hold strong. Some great articles I’ve recently come across have given large amounts of criticism to a free app’s ability to create value in a users mind (not what I’ve personally experienced in the app store). IntoNow’s ability to do so is a huge win, and undoubtedly another reason fot it’s great success.
Success? There is little room to doubt that IntoNow had acquisition written in big bold letters in their exit strategy for their first business model mock-up. Almost everything they did was perfectly fielded toward a potential buyout and they played their cards for this direction perfectly right. Everything from winning some great strategic advertising partnerships to having a patent on a sound-recognition technology.
It’s an entrepreneurial success story of sorts - Fitting precisely into the category of fast-paced market ready galloping. It’s literally text-book from their first blog post being a photo of the garage they would start working out of, to not even 15 posts later the acquisition announcement.
The definition of their success is really something you can take for your own right - Looking at a long term and Yahoo!’s history for developing acquired start-ups you could argue that this undertaking will not amount to much more. But it’s definitely not a stretch to say it would be a success story for the founders and the impact on their careers and personal bank-accounts. Maybe success of a certain entrepreneurial sort but arguably not the entrepreneurial success some are working towards.
Q&A: Will Android catch Apple in the Tablet Race?
Conflict is embraced at Quantic Fox. Sometimes because it can’t be avoided. We’ve decided to collect our battles of discourse in the hopes that our arguments act as a catalyst for you to jump in and add your opinion to the conversation. So why not start with one of our never-ending debates regarding the future of the tablet market?
The iPad 2 is selling faster than it can be produced. Apple has once again hit a homerun as they look to potentially sell and distribute 40 million iPads before the year is out. We’ve decided to take to task our resident Google Evangelist (Jamie Huson) to see how he responds to Apple’s recent success with the iPad 2.
QFox- Ok Jamie, let’s start with statistics. Reports are saying that apple managed to sell 3 million iPads during their Q1. The biggest competitor during that same time was Motorola’s Xoom, which has sold around 100,000 units. Is this comparison indicative of future android tablets and their ability to compete with Apple?
Jamie- It’s no surprise that Apple sold so many iPads in Q1. They have a great product and an even better marketing blitz. If we can learn from the history of Android and iOS it’s that Android thrives on choice and differentiation. As we begin to see more Android tablets emerge from recognized manufacturers the numbers will likely increase. It took a couple years but Android has surpassed iOS and there’s no reason for that trend to not continue into the tablet market. Consumers are choosing Android for a variety of reasons (Google services, wider array of hardware choices, platform advantages, etc.) on their phone and it seems reasonable to assume many consumers will prefer Android to iOS for those same reasons when they are at the buying counter for a tablet. Android 3.0 is a very capable and powerful platform, and as more developers utilize it to create compelling experiences, many users will be drawn to the types of apps available on Android tablets.
QFox- Out of all the tablets that will be using android’s Honeycomb OS (14 and counting), which is primed to be the strongest competitor to the iPad 2?
Jamie- That’s tough to say. The Xoom is a great device and backed by the network that mass marketed Android through the “Droid” line. However, it’s clear that the Xoom is also a developer device; that is, one of its primary uses is as a development device for the Android 3.0 platform. Samsung’s commitment to Android and sales is clear with the success of the Galaxy S line of devices. It’s also stated publicly it intends to compete heavily against the iPad with its tablets. While it might be obvious to state, the devices that will successfully compete with the iPad are going to be those which have the lowest priced points. The Xoom, while feature-equivalent is only priced against the highest-tier iPads. Those tablets with lower price points will be very successful. I suspect we will be seeing many successful Android tablets emerge from the biggest players like Samsung, Sony, HTC, etc.
QFox- What are we to make of the reports that Apple’s production can’t meet their demand for iPad 2’s? Is this a good thing for Google’s push of their Honeycomb OS, or are they affected by the same problems since Apple is using so many of the tablet necessary resources for production?
Jamie- Component shortages can occur for a number of reasons. It’s clear the devastation from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan have caused shortages in the supply chain. Since Google isn’t a hardware manufacturer it really has no affect on the progression of Android platform itself. Hardware partners may feel the squeeze but the biggest electronics manufacturers in the world know how to deal with supply and demand.
Jump into the arena and respond with your thoughts on what you think the future of the tablet market will look like.
Getting Your App Off ‘The Juice’
Growing up, there was no substitute for a genuine Swiss Army Knife.
This one-stop-shop multi-tool had all the promise of meeting every indispensable need of our childhood. As we’ve matured, the tool has proven it doesn’t exceed in any one area enough to warrant its use, aside from slicing tree bark or cutting really small pieces of paper.
Our parents don’t cook in the kitchen with Swiss Army knives and it’s safe to assume a majority of people aren’t uncorking wine bottles with that classy red handle. That’s because most goods used on an everyday basis are “specialized” for their specific task. It’s precisely why your vacuum doesn’t also lacquer wood floors and your toilet doesn’t double up as a punchbowl.
In a lot of cases, when people have inquired with us on an app, there’s been a striking amount of concepts that have done little more than blend together a misshapen mass of ideas into a mess of an app salad. It’s the kind of app that wants to give you the stocks on one tab, a sampling of adult contemporary playlists adjacent, take the pH levels of your pool on one hand and make a great recommendation for takeout.
Your app can spend all of its time trying to do a lot things decently or it can ensure that it does what it’s supposed to do great. No application can do everything but it feels like a lot of them are trying. Your app probably won’t be a stand-in for your user’s OS so give them a reason to keep coming back to use it. That means crafting a user experience that is both enjoyable AND specialized.
Juicing up your apps doesn’t add perceived value; it takes away from the overall experience by bogging the user down with rabbit holes and a feeling of déjà vu. Case study successful apps in your field and take note of how many basic, stripped down functions a given application serves. Start trimming the fat by asking yourself, “does this insurance quote calculator really need to display the weather?” Why, exactly, are users opening your app? Resist the urge to build a proverbial pocketknife of an application.
Density should never be a substitute for innovation.
As an exercise in planning, sit down and list out what exactly the functions of your application are. Make it short and sweet—to the point. If you can boil it down to two to three points and still have a strong value proposition and market, get to work. You’ve got an app to build.