Don’t forget the numbers

Whenever I work with Fig1 clients who want us to help them figure out their mobile strategy, the first words out of their mouths usually are “We need you to develop an iPhone app.”  And my first question to them is “why?”.  What benefits are they going to offer customers with a mobile app?  Then we drill down further with the question as to whether they have looked at their website traffic to see whether the largest percentage of mobile surfers on the regular website are iPhone users?  Or is it some other device?

Comscore’s US market share statistics came out today to remind us that Apple’s operating system is not the dominant device software for smart phones.  While the stock market loved that Google’s Android software increased their market share 4 points to 13 % share in the last 3 months, the news item that struck me is that RIM’s Blackberry devices still own 42% of the market.  And that Apple’s share (24%) actually fell slightly in this time period (though analysts predict the share will rise again next quarter due to sales of the iPhone 4).   Apple’s share is just slightly over 1/2 of RIM’s software and Android is half of Apple’s.

There have been rumblings for some time now that the iPhone is not the entire world you need to worry about when thinking about mobile.   That Android is an up and coming factor and that RIM can’t be ignored.  This news release clearly demonstrates those facts.

Before you start building a mobile app, you really need to step back and understand your customers.  What are their needs and what devices do they use.  Then you can start making tactical decisions about which apps to build and what devices to target.

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