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The World of Apps

Choose Platform First, For Apps You Need

It is very important to first choose the right platform.  If there is a specific app that you need, and it is only one one platform, then that is the platform you need! This is more true of business, for example, than gaming.

In general, the most popular apps are available on several platforms.

But Ubuntu, and to some degree Windows, will lack apps. So its very important you do some research based on the apps you will need.

 

Android Platform:

Android is the largest platform, by number of apps.   This is true for business, games, and most categories.   It means you have tremendous choice – which is also a problem, of how to choose.   The lack of ‘curation’ in Google Play means you sometimes have to wade through some apps that work poorly, or are no longer maintained to find a good one.  You can find this appstore at Play.Google.com.   As of December 2016, Google Play had 2.6 million apps, and is now the largest app store; but Apple has had more total downloads.

iPad (iOs) Platform:

Apple has over 2 million apps in their app store.  It is not web directly; to access it you use an apple device like an iPad.  On the web, you learn more at Apple.com/itunes.  There are over 700,000 native apps just for the iPad, which is an impressive number of native apps.  Apple’s app store is more curated than Google Play, so the average quality seems to be higher.  Apple is stricter on what they will accept in new app’s submitted.  Apple has had almost twice the number of downloads compared to Android, and the Apple/iOs platform is more profitable than any other.

Amazon Fire Platform:

Amazon devices are a heavily-modified version of Android.  So Amazon decided to have its own app store.  Amazon has far fewer apps than Android; but there are over 700,000 apps so you still have a good selection.  New apps will come out on Android first, and later – perhaps – on Amazon.   Before choosing a Fire device, you might want to explore the Amazon App Store to see if it has the apps you need and want.

Ubuntu Platform:

Ubuntu is a Linux-based platform.  There are not a lot of apps, compared to the Android and iOs Platforms.  But Ubuntu apps tend to be robust and dependable.  It is a great platform for programmers, business, and anyone who wants an alternative to those ‘big’ platforms.  Find out more at the Ubuntu Apps Directory.

Windows Platform:

Microsoft no longer releases info on the number of apps.   This is not surprising since it is far less than Android or iOS.  But Microsoft apps are the best ones for business, in many cases.  There are over 500,000 apps in the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store.   For business use, you probably will find what need; but check first.   Surface tablets run Windows so most windows software should work on a Surface.

Other App Stores

Many companies have a private app store, and you can find them via search.  Some other app stores of interest would include AptoideGetJarAppBrainSamsung AppsBaiduTencent AppsFirefox Marketplace, and BlackBerry World.  Blackberry had a nice tablet when it first came out but they have not brought out newer versions and do not seem serious about the market.

Conclusions

If a specific platform is not required, and you have the budget, then your best bet for apps is the is the Apple iPad.  It will probably have the smoothest user experience, a gorgeous display, and has tons of apps.  Android is a solid choice and saves money compared to Apple.  Windows is good for business.  Amazon Fire is a great choice for the most budget-minded, but their app store does have significantly fewer apps then Google/Apple.

Especially when it comes to games, most people get what their friends have – its more fun!

 

Tablet Platforms

There are many kinds of tablets, including the Apple iPad, Android Tablets, Ubuntu tablets, and Windows Tablets. In fact, there are over 100 manufacturers of Android tablets alone. While the number of models is huge, the variety is not as much as you might think. Read a number of reviews before you make your buying decision. We are recommending that people stick with brands that have the a complete platform (phone, tablet, and computers); the lesser brands that are not able to offer a complete platform may have other limitations as well.

What are the different tablet platforms?

Apple iPad – This is consistently the highest quality tablet. Apple seems to keep raising bar, year in and year out. You cannot go wrong with an iPad. The iPad provides a higher-quality experience than any other platform. And, in terms of platform, Apple provides the most cohesive & consistent interface.

Android – Android has the highest unit sales, and has some of the least expensive devices. However, many of the android tablets have mixed quality and should be avoided. Samsung, LG, Lenovo, Asus, Acer, Sony, and Toshiba all make very good android tablets. You want to buy a tablet that you will really use and enjoy, with a high quality, responsive touchscreen.

Ubuntu – Ubuntu does not yet have as many models as the other platforms but Ubuntu is the only platform that is close to Apple in terms of overall consistency and ease of use. Ubuntu is based on Linux. Ubuntu devices in general are faster than other platforms because the operating system is more efficient. If you are not familiar with Ubuntu devices, check them out, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Windows Surface – Windows was late to the game with Surface, but it is a nice tablet. The newer models are getting better, with longer battery life. Windows 8 has a “learning curve”, which is rather strange given that tablets are supposed to be eaiser, not harder. For a Windows/Work experience, Surface is worth considering. Otherwise, you are better off with an iPad or a nice Android tablet.

Other Tablets – There are a number of other tablets on the market. Amazon makes the Kindle, a closed system that is possibly good if you are a very frequent Amazon user; otherwise we do not see the point of buying a Kindle. Barnes & Noble makes the Nook, which did not run native Android apps when it first came out and is not really relevant in the market. Samsung is toying with the idea of its own OS, a successor to Android called Tizen, and we don’t see the point of that either. Blackberry had a tablet but there is not reason to buy this device; Blackberry is not bringing out successors to it, and in general (based on their former CEO’s statements about tablets) does not understand the use of tablets in the marketplace.

The Windows Platform is Now Stronger: Microsoft Buys Nokia

We have mentioned in other posts, that we are fans of Microsoft products. The Nokia acquisition looks like a win for Microsoft; they are adding to the momentum of Windows phone. Anything that they can do to increase that momentum, they should do – and do with vigor. This purchase makes the base stronger for Windows phone and is another step in the right direction for the Windows Platform.

However, the Nokia purchase does not solve certain app issues that Microsoft still needs to deal with. The Nokia deal does not threaten Samsung in any way. The only way for Microsoft to truly make headway against Samsung, is to solve the app issues. These issues go beyond just the number of apps; no one has truly solved the problem of helping users optimize their devices. App discovery is just too hard; and tablets, in particular, are not optimized.

Nokia is the number one seller of Windows phones, so this ensures that will Nokia’s success will continue and hopefully grow. Other device makers can continue to make Windows phones – just like in the old days when IBM made a desktop computers, but other companies did also.

If you are interested in a Windows phone, click here.

Microsoft needs to have one brand and a consistent user interface experience, across all devices. That is what it means to be a platform. By controlling the phone’s UI, Microsoft moves closer to that goal. The ultimate realization of this are about apps – having apps that a user can run across all his devices is so important. Ubuntu might be the most polished so far in this regard. Microsoft needs to do more in terms of the app discovery process for users, and for a consistent UI.

Nokia still sells more feature phones than Windows smartphones, so it would behoove microsoft to bring out better software and apps for feature phones. There are browsers now that allow a feature phone to do facebook and other web functions, by making extensive use of texting as a background process. If Microsoft got behind that kind of software, it would be huge for them; so once again, its about apps.

The deal still has to be approved by Nokia shareholders.

It is estimated that before the deal, Microsoft earned $10 per Windows phone sold; but with Nokia in the fold, Microsoft will earn an estimated $40 per phone. That is a huge increase. Remember, reliable profit is all about margins; Apple has the highest margins in the industry. It is a much more precarious position to have small margins (like the 5% or so average margin on desktop pc’s); any downturn in a market hurts the small-margin companies much more.

The Nokia purchase is a form of insurance. It ensures the Windows phone brand will continue, even if all other manufacturers drop out. So its a smart move on Microsoft’s part.

What Microsoft has not yet fully solved is what I call the app discovery problem; people want and need to optimize their devices. We need better app discovery tools, especially on tablets. This is an opportunity of enormous size – and if Microsoft solved it, then it would fuel sales of their mobile devices (both phones, and tablets).