iPhone accounts for two thirds of UK connected app users
Should mobile app developers be putting more effort into porting their apps to Symbian smartphones? There’s a large existing install base, and while Nokia is planning to phase out the OS over the next couple of years, the company claims it will sell another 150 million Symbian devices during that time.
New figures released by industry body the GSMA tell another story, however. According to its Mobile Media Metrics report, compiled together with comScore, Symbian accounted for just 1% of connected application users in the UK in April.
The analysis is based on the same principles as the research we reported on last week: comScore’s data is based on apps that connect to the Internet over an operator network, so they don’t include non-connected downloadable games. In other words, Symbian users who are downloading and playing games on their phones won’t be counted for the purposes of this survey.
comScore provided Apps Blog with some separate figures from its MobiLens research, showing device market share for smartphones in the UK in April. According to those figures, 27.6% of smartphone users were on iPhone that month, 24.7% on Android, 23.6% on Symbian, 18.1% on BlackBerry and 3.8% on Windows Mobile or Windows Phone 7 devices.
Compare the two pieces of research, and you see iPhone is hugely over-indexing in terms of connected app usage, Android is doing pretty well, but Symbian – 23.6% of active smartphones but a mere 1% of connected app users – hardly presents an appealing prospect to developers making those connected apps.
Caveats? Just a few. The figures don’t tell us much about the addressable market in the UK for people using non-connected apps. They don’t tell us anything about countries elsewhere in the world where Symbian may be a more viable platform for these applications.
Meanwhile, we’re puzzled at the poor share for BlackBerry given the popularity of mail and BBM messaging on RIM’s devices – we suspect that these apps may not be registering with comScore due to the technical details of the BlackBerry platform.
Even so, when next wondering why so many developers appear to have iOS tunnel vision, the Mobile Media Metrics figures for the UK provide valuable context. To put it bluntly, according to these stats, there are more than 5.7 million iPhone owners using connected apps in the UK, versus 2.7 million Android users and 119,000 Symbian users.
It’s not just about how many devices have been sold, but about how many of those people are actively downloading and using apps. And how many are willing to pay for them, of course, but that’s another piece of research in the making.