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« Dumbest Move in Smartphone Marketing This Year - Sony Rebrands Xperia Z4 Into Something Less | Main | Tidbits from Smartphone Wars incl some App Store Number Updates »

June 10, 2015




> You seem to confuse HTML5 mobile websites with packaged HTML5 apps.

No but I see where that impression came from. I did reply to "I see many companies building better websites with HTML5, that are responsive" which makes an argument that HTML5 (web) is responsive and hence, by conclusion, HTML5 (apps) are. I should have probably gone more into detail about the difference - "internet as bottleneck in case of web" whereas thats not the concern in case of (offline-)apps. Yet responsive, energy-consumption and platform-integration beside, which are other HTML5 problems, the incompatible API-problems between browser-vendors, between browser-versions, are a huge thing. The main, the only, driving force to progress on that front is Firefox and thats a huge shame. But it tells us how irrelevant the whole HTML5-app/wac/wtf crap still is in 2015. Yet that doesn't mean it doesn't have usecases where it can shine. Particular some hybrid-solutions, ranging from embedding browsers for some tasks to reusing protocol-stacks, have a future. HTML5 apps not.


> numbers that are 'roughly' comparable

Thanks a lot for the indeep explanation on how difficult proper comparision is. Sure I agree that "the rough comparisons are valid" or just the best numbers we have. Any try to normalize this numbers, adjust them to better compare, is more worse (as in unfounded guesswork that may raise questions) then just using this numbers as-is.

> About Whatsapp, I think Whatsapp is trying to become the de-facto standard

As communication platform they do just like Sype, Viber, vk, WeChat, etc. Yet the whole stack, the protocol, the infratsurcture are closed. As long as thats the case they cannot and never will succeed. The main focus is on control, lockin and profits using a whole propitary stack from the ground (protocols) to the top (only one implementation). Incompatible by design & focus to anything that could turn into a standard adopted by different players. Nobody will accept another Microsoft Office/Windows any longer and the only way Android was able to succeeded was Google giving up control and lockin.

Yeterday it was Skype, today its WhatsApp (only in the western world), tomorrow it may WebRTC or something else. MySpace, Facebook, the next thing, etc. While SMS stays, not as fixed stack impossible to innovate on controlled by a single vendor to profit by lockin but as common communication protocol widly adopted with many different implementations available everywhere.

Tomi T Ahonen


I removed your comment. I know you made good points but you probably responded too quickly before thinking. That issue is discussed in the blog, go re-read the blog, and feel free to repost your comment but acknowledging the size issues already discussed in the blog.

Tomi Ahonen :-)



Fair enough. I will re-post only the part about apps and will return to the SMS part at a later time. This part is about the cost of getting a promotional app.

@Tomi and RottenApple

I'm not talking about updated apps but promotional apps. As RottenApple already pointed out, he has been involved with only one of those and it was obviously made from scratch. Not a very good business really. It may have been a cheap shot but obviously he was not talking about the same thing I was. Building quality apps for marketing is not something you will do from scratch if you want to do serious business.



Please do not twist words in my mouth. I never said it was created from scratch but obviously all content that was EXCLUSIVE to it had to be created from scratch.

But all that still doesn't change anything about the mundane fact that more money had to be spent to promote the promotional app than the promotional effect of the app ultimately brought. The entire business proposition of a promotional app cannot work with the current state of app distribution as it'd get lost in all the noise of the app store.



We are obviously having a very different idea about what an promotional app is and how you can do business with those. I doubt it will be worth it to discuss about it further than this. At least not now.

On the other hand, I started reading Tomi's blog post and noticed an interesting point from there. The app revenues generated from the app stores were worth $25B in 2014 and earlier this month Apple announced that the App Store had been generating revenue more than $7B in less than 5 months. This would suggest $18B for 2015 without additional growth and assuming that Android would be bigger than iOS, it would be more than $36B in 2015. Almost 50% growth compared to 2014.

Tomi T Ahonen

Lullz & Rotten

About Apple App Store. No. Official Apple number out June said 10B dollars was paid out in the last 12 months. Same as paid out in previous 12 months leading to June 2014. Apple App Store revenues are FLAT vs year-ago, Android is growing. And those revenues (14 Billion dollars total Apple billing before Apple's own tax) include TABLET income which is excluded from smartphone income. Its not growing 50% from 2014. The only revenue growth in apps is now on the Android side. We will discuss all these matters when the apps economy blog is posted later this summer/early Fall when the relevant numbers are all in. Meanwhile those Apple news about the App Store numbers ARE posted for you in today's blog about smartphone market tidbits, you may want to go discuss it there where its more relevant than here with SMS... :-)

Tomi Ahonen :-)


Ironically, the way of choice to promote an app seems to have become building an HTML website (or taking your existing successful one), and then nagging your visitors into installing your app. An app that is typically worse than a browser at zooming, searching, bookmarking, and whatever usability metric comes to mind. And the only advantage is that the users cannot block your ads and you can push notifications to them.

About SMS and spam, getting opt-in is crucial indeed. There are countries where sending unsolicited SMS is unlawful. That means you have to spend some extra effort on making people aware of your campaign and give you their phone number. That is easiest if they are already your customers or walk by your point of sale regularly.



I fully agree about apps. Far too often I get to a website that nags me to install an app, but often it is either that the app is worse than the website or even more catastrophic, the website is non-functional so that the app becomes a requirement.

That's quite an impression to make on a potential customer, in both cases it's very probable that the customer loses interest in such inept ways of marketing.


The discussion about the relevance of SMS vs apps reminds me of the situation of phone calls vs mobile Web sites a while back. WAP and i-Mode provided the possibility to have click-to-call links right from the beginning. Voice calls were neither "cool" (it was the oldest thing on mobile...phones), nor an elaborate technique, but they were universally available, effective and simple to use. Thus, instead of navigating a restaurant Web site through various screens, hidden popups, or querying interfaces, just call and inquire right away about menus for lactose-intolerant people, children menu, parking place availability, and follow up with a booking delivered verbally instead of filling in HTML forms.

SMS fills a similar role nowadays for alerts, reminders, immediate reaction to marketing actions ("yes/no", reply with a code, etc) -- without having to figure out how to set up push mechanisms configured differently for each different app. SMS is not "cool", nor "modern", but it is universal, well-known and effective.

In both cases the conclusion is: cut costs in a complex interactive reservation app/website and provide the simple click-to-call mechanism; cut costs in a cumbersome promotional/loyalty app and resort to the simple SMS.

Tomi T Ahonen

Two interesting updates about the main topic of the blog, SMS

Belgium has started to create 'text walking' lanes, painted onto the sidewalk, where mobile phone users can text in peace while walking - we know they walk slower than normal pedestrians - and not have accidents 'texting while walking'. This is similar to what London has done putting padding on some traffic signs on busy sidewalks as pedestrians texting-while-walking have been crashing into the signs.

And those apps? Can they use SMS to enhance their reach? Latest example came perfectly after I posted this blog: Uber. Yes Uber has introduced Textber, a website that lets non-smartphone owners register themselves and their mobile phone numbers. Then all they do is send an SMS to Textber to book taxis, and all interaction will be done by SMS instead of the classic Uber app. Brilliant move, expands the reach of Uber to those who still have featurephones (including 25% of Americans).

(Obviously this has to be the real Tomi only bringing value to the readers not that nonsense picking a fight with me from Fake Tomi)

Ok, continue the discussion, I'll return later with more comments

Tomi Ahonen :-)


"Belgium has started to create 'text walking' lanes, painted onto the sidewalk, where mobile phone users can text in peace while walking - we know they walk slower than normal pedestrians - and not have accidents 'texting while walking'."



Another SMS story for Tomi :)

Tomi T Ahonen

For all in this thread, we have fresh numbers from Juniper that the value of premium SMS this year 2015 will be 62.7B dollars, so again growth. Mobile first starts with SMS.

Tomi Ahonen :-)


I haven't read every word in your blog/book but I love some the stats in here! Its funny how all the messaging apps out there try to convince users to move from SMS to THEIR platform. Now there are too many out there and the average person still uses SMS for most of their smartphone communication. Seems to me that SMS is here for a very long time!

Keith Paul

Hi Tomi,

Great blog... I will definitely have to sit with this (and some coffee) to full absorb it all! And thanks for the mention of HeyWire (I'm the director of marketing there).

An interesting trend we're seeing centers on the ideas of "app fatigue" and users' habit to use a few key apps on their smartphones, despite however many they download.

Are you seeing evidence in the market where brands are beginning to recognize this trend and try to leverage those habits? Here at HeyWire, we're pushing the idea of our mobile app working as a CO-APP alongside those users' key apps... in the business world, that includes Salesforce1 but we're always looking at others.



Dharmendra Singh Bhadoriya



Tomi, how can you only count iPhones when you talk about app platform? The iPad and the iPod touch also run the same apps by the same developers.

That makes the numbers:

Active iOS users …………775 million (JackDaw Research)
Active iTunes/App Store suers …1 Billion (Asymco)

>app developers now laugh at anyone dumb enough to go iPhone-first.

Actually, they don’t.

App Annie’s latest worldwide App Store revenue figures report that Apple’s App Store revenue was 80% higher than Google Play in Q3 2015, up from 70% in Q2.

And no, advertising doesn't make up the difference with iOS users generating 1,790% greater Ad ROI than Android users and Android users actually losing advertisers 10% per Ad.

Vision Mobile's recent 2015 Developer Economics report tells us:

"Apple owns the high end. The iOS ecosystem appears to have a lock on the high end that will be hard to break. Slow but steady, iOS developer mindshare declines over recent years have reversed; they’re now back up to 54%. ”

"Android handset makers are increasingly unable to compete effectively for the premium customers. Those are the customers that are most interesting to well-funded developers, as well as advertisers, retailers and various service providers….The result is that most developers who are primarily interested in revenue target iOS first”

Vision Mobile then reports:

- 8% of iOS developers (17,000 devs) generate greater than $2.4 Million annually 
- 7% or 15,000 iOS devs make between $600K and $2.4 Million p.a.
- 24% or 50,000 iOS devs make between $60K and $600K p.a.

In terms of Android developers, Vision Mobile then reports:
“It turns out that Android is not even the second best platform for revenues. Of those prioritising the mobile browser, 47% are below the app poverty line, making less than $500 and 29% make more than $5,000 per month"
"Android developers look poor in comparison with 55% earning less than $500 per month from the platform and just 19% earning more than $5,000 per month. In fact, the revenue distribution for Android-first developers doesn’t look much better than that for those targeting BlackBerry 10 or Windows Phone either. Since the user base for Android is more than an order of magnitude bigger, this is astonishing.”

“Speculation that Android’s overwhelming market share would eventually tempt top iOS developers to switch their priorities seem to have been unfounded. If anything, the reverse is likely to happen as the app economy continues to mature.”

Tomi T Ahonen


(I deleted your additional comments as unnecessary and repetitive, not beloning here at all, you are already discussing those issues in the smartphone OS thread where I told you they belong and where you have a good engagement with the readers)

I will answer your first point, briefly only. This blog was about 'Mobile First' ie it is about MOBILE. Not the IT industry, not the PC industry, not the gaming industry or the music industry. About mobile. Mobile is a 1.6 Trillion dollar industry so its four times larger than the PC industry (50x larger than the global music industry) and the PC industry is in decline (as is music). If you want to go to some PC or gaming or music or other website and talk about their future, go ahead. This BLOG TOPIC was 'mobile' and therefore the nonsense trivial sidelines are OPTIONAL EXTRAS for some players, not the point of this topic. The TOTAL smartphone OS system ecosystem mobile revenues generated by smartphone apps - of ALL PLATFORMS COMBINED was 30 Billion dollars in 2014. This includes the revenues of paid apps, the advertising revenues and the in-app purchase revenues, all combined. Of that Apple and Google took their share which is about a quarter so only $22.5B is left for app developers. Thats under 2% of the total mobile industry. And iOS is only one part of that.

But of MOBILE, the MOBILE industry has tons of businesses and services that are UNIQUE to mobile starting with say SMS and ringtones. You can't receive an SMS onto your iPod and you can't install a ringing tone to your Mac. The INDUSTRY is different. Just because Bombarier, a Canadian airplane maker also makes TRAINS, we can't count their TRAINS as supposedly being more airplanes sold. Or Peugeot the French car maker, also is a major bicycle manufacturer. We don't count Peugeot bikes as part of the car industry. Its part of Peugeot's business yes (or trains for Bombardier) but thats only of relevance to that company (and its investors). This is not an Apple blog. This blog ARTICLE was about mobile first, please do not come post silly stats about irrelevant other industries like the dying PC industry or the miniscule and declining music industry.

The JackDaw and Asymco numbers are not relevant to MOBILE. We KNOW how many iPHONES are in use. That is mobile, the others are whatever other tech industry bundles you want to create, to count. in MOBILE Apple has 6% of all mobile customers and 8% of all mobile phones in use worldwide. We are discussing this issue with you Rocwurst on the smartphnoe OS thread, don't bring this up here, as noise to confuse readers. this blog article was about MOBILE. So Apple has a reach beyond its mobile, so does Google with Android, so does Microsoft with Windows, so does Samsung with Tizen on TVs, and so forth. None of that is MOBILE and is not of relevance to the reader who came to this blog to learn, what is 'mobile first' because an app is 'mobile last' and most app developers have figured that out already. Its the LAST thing you should be doing, which is what all the big gurus of the mobile industry have been saying for years. Even Peggy Anne Salz in her big apps book just out, says you do SMS before apps and if you were dumb enough to do apps first, now (as in year 2015), you HAVE TO ADD... SMS. Duh. Mobile first.

On App Annie report, you now misquote it youself, compared to what you wrote in the smartphone apps thread - suggests you are trolling. Watch it!

On the advertising ROI - GOSH, if you want ROI as an ad metric, SMS ROI is about 10,000 times better than the banner ads on iPhones. The topic of this blog was 'mobile first'.

Vision Mobile's stats go to the very foundation. What you quoted is the bullshit hype stats. VM's OWN numbers say half of all app developers - half - earn less than 500 dollars. So a few guys make Angry Birds or Candy Crush and earn millions. Did I mention game developers? HALF of app developers according to your source, Vision Mobile and their latest Nov 2015 report - earn under 500 dollars. HALF. Don't write here that there is an 'economy' in apps - all apps experts are in despair by now that there is no way to monetize apps unless you are a game developer and even then the odds are stacked against you.

The biggest data platform on the planet by users is SMS. Your fave, iOS apps is not in the top 10. MMS is second largest by users (mobile web 3rd). The largest data platform on the planet by revenues is.. SMS. The second largest is.. MMS (mobile web 3rd). The largest data platform by installed base of devices is.. SMS. Second is MMS, third is mobile web. Please do not come here spew that clear Apple propaganda. Stay away from this blog article until you've shown you are not a troll, and you have something to contribute, by answering the issues we are discussing - in the SMARTPHONE OS thread where this sillyness discussion belongs. Apps are only a viable business for GAMING. Gaming is a tiny tiny slice of the ENTERTAINMENT services of mobile. Entertainment is only a small part of the SERVICES of mobile. Mobile is far more than its services. This article is about MOBILE FIRST not the trivial trash.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

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nice blog..

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