According to online directory and download service GetJar, mobile applications, also known as apps, will become "as big as the internet", peaking at 10 million apps in 2020. How important are apps to you in your daily life now?
"Apps will be as big if not bigger than the internet," according to Ilja Laurs, chief executive of GetJar, a leading independent application store.
"They will peak at around 100,000 by the end of the year. That will be a tipping point and after that there will be a gradual fall in the rate of development."
I'm constantly being pitched apps by developers, for the iPhone, Symbian and Android. Personally, I have a few apps installed on my iPod touch and Nokia E71, but apart from the Google Maps app and Opera Mobile on my E71, I really haven't come across anything that offers me much beyond temporary novelty value. I've some nice games installed on my iPod touch (Bejeweled and Doom Resurrection) sucking away my free time, but there's nothing I couldn't live without. What's more, I've not seen anything that I'd part more than a few bucks on.
While I'm pretty unmoved by apps, I know others who have dozens installed and flip between them all day. These people seem to use apps to access info on the web more than they use the browser. To these folks, apps seem to be an important part of the mobile experience.
I'm pretty sure that Apple's iPhone has allowed apps to jump Moore's Chasm, but it'll be interesting to see if they achieve long-term traction. I was put off apps for mobile devices back in the days of the HP iPAQ when upgrading the device meant having to spend more cash on apps, or finding that some apps weren't available for a new OS. So far Apple has managed to prevent fragmentation of the iPhone platform, but this can't last forever. Once a new device or OS update starts killing older apps it'll be interesting to see if people will be willing to flex their credit cards for a second time around and re-purchase apps.
What's your favorite app? How much did it cost you? How important is it to you? Would you re-buy it if you had to?