The Top 10 Ways 2010 Changed Mobile Apps

12/31/10

This month, IDC analysts released a forecast report showing that mobile apps will support more of our everyday interactions, with downloads projected to increase to nearly 76.9 billion in 2014. However, while future predictions are great to consider, it’s always valuable to take a look back at what actually happened over the past year. Undoubtedly mobile applications have dominated 2010 headlines, so my  company Mobclix, a Palo Alto-based real-time bidding mobile ad exchange, aggregated some of the top game-changers from 2010 that will certainly shape what’s to come. For more data and insight, check out Mobclix’s report here.

1. The Platform War Gets Bloody—Android impressions on the Mobclix Exchange have grown by 420 percent since its inception. 2010 will go down as the beginning of the smartphone wars.

2. In-App Purchasing, Enabling a New Economy—Developers have seen that free apps with in-app purchasing are reaching more users and increasing revenue dramatically. In-game purchases are expected to surpass $11 billion by 2015, according to Jupiter Research.

3. Advertising on Mobile Gets Smart—Real-time bidding hit the mobile app market this year; RTB inventory is expected to make up 10 to 15 percent of total ad buys for 2011.

4. Apps Aren’t a One Trick Pony—Constantly re-engaging with users has proven to be successful. Angry Birds launches an update to their app every four weeks and sees an 80 percent retention rate.

5. It Pays to Be Pushy—Customer retention is 2.7x better with push notification. Apps are opened up to 228 percent more and weekly session times have increased by 103 percent. (Source: Mobclix survey.)

6. Rich Media Ads Pay More—The launch of Apple’s iAd network this year magnified the importance for marketers of having a more engaging user experience. Approximately 37 percent of impressions on the Mobclix exchange were for rich media units, a 115 percent increase over 2009.

7. Games Are King—Games have become the most popular category of apps. 70 percent of the chart-topping applications—in both usage and gross revenue—are games.

8. Apps Are Here to Stay—The success of mobile apps has led to expansion to other product lines, such as TVs, desktops, Blu Ray players and even web browsers. Google, Apple and Samsung all released their own TV systems this year

9. Apps Are Everywhere—Apps have become part of our daily life. The average smartphone user spends 2.8 hours per day using applications and 3 in 5 people first turn to an app before searching the web. (Source: Mobclix survey.)

10. Don’t Underestimate iCurrency—Apple has driven over 10 billion downloads of digital content through iTunes, and delivered over $1 billion in earnings to developers. With apps penetrating all areas of our lives, we’ll be spending a lot more iCurrency. (Source: Apple Insider.)

[Editor's Note: This is part of a series of posts from Xconomists and other technology and life sciences leaders from around the U.S. who are weighing in with the top surprises they've seen in their respective fields in the past year, or the major things to watch for in 2011.]

Krishna Subramanian is co-founder of Mobclix, a Palo Alto, CA-based mobile ad exchange. Follow @

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  • http://www.brianshall.com Brian S Hall

    Excellent overview! My focus is on “the smartphone wars” and hope Xconomy makes this a larger focus in 2011.

  • http://www.apperian.com Cimarron Buser

    The other big story in 2011 will be continuing enterprise (business) adoption of mobile and tablet devices, and Apps.

    Although not as “flashy” as the consumer apps and games, the use of both “off the shelf” business productivity apps, and “custom” or in-house developed apps, is starting to take off and will have a big impact on corporate ROI and improved business processes.

    The iPad has made a huge impact at the management level in organizations, and these “new users” are demanding access to corporate information and apps that help them do their work. This adds to the “bring your own iPhone” trend already under way.