Social Apps Topping The Charts – A Shift In User Behaviour

A study recently released Flurry Analytics concluded that mobile apps users are now spending approximately the same amount of time on social networking apps as they are on games.   The study covered the first quarter of 2012.  When the same study was done in 2011, it showed that users were spending about ten more minutes per day on games, mostly on the strength of the Angry Birds phenomenon.

According to Kim-Mai Cutler, from TechCrunch, sees the study as an indication that both the Android and iOS platforms are undergoing fundamental change.  Three social sharing apps, Socialcam, Instagram, and Viddy, are in the top five free apps in the United States.

Social apps have also seen increases in revenue more quickly than game apps.  While game apps have remained steady, the gross revenue share for social apps has risen from 24% to 37% on the AppCircle network.

The conclusion that many industry experts are drawing from this is that the games market might be nearing relative saturation, and consumers are replacing games with social apps.

A new app called Fragile Earth demonstrates the impact of climate changes and natural disasters with before and after satellite images of slightly over seventy sites.  The app, currently available for iPhone and iPad, costs $2.99, and includes images taken as early as 1914, juxtaposed with current satellite images.  The images come from many sources, including NASA and GeoEye, and include areas affected Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the Muir Glacier in Alaska, and the Mesopotamia Marshes in Iraq, which have been effectively “drained” climate changes.

The app, which sticks to factual reporting and avoids opinion, also shows the effects of earthquakes in Japan, Pakistan, and Haiti, and displays photographs of sites affected dams, deforestation, and mining.  Fragile Earth was created Collins Geo, which is a division of Harper Collins UK.  According to Collins Geo president Jethro Lennox, the app is an extension of their 2006 book “Fragile Earth,” which is currently out of print, but due for a second edition later this year. has launched a new iPad app for shoppers which predicts prices on various goods.  The app, called “Decide,” which is free and available at the App Store, is advertised as “the only shopping service that predicts when to buy products with no regrets.”

Decide not only predicts prices, but gives a recommendation of “buy” or “wait” for over 500,000 different products.  They also offer what they call the “Got Your Back” price guarantee.  Decide guarantees that if a customer buys a product recommended the app, and the price drops within two weeks, the company will send the customer a check to make up the difference in price.  The app also features comparison of online and brick-and-mortar prices, access to product reviews, and product tracking alerts.

The theft of iPhones has become a serious problem, especially in the US.  Consequently, developers have created a number of apps to help track stolen iPhones.  The one with the most features is a free app called ProjectPrey.  The app is open source, and works on both smartphones and computers.  It works on almost every system, including Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, and MacOS, with an Ubantu custom system.

The app, unlike some of the apps which need to be intentionally triggered, works nonstop.  It uses GPS and WiFi hotspots to triangulate the location of the phone at all times.  It also monitors the screenshots of the active session, and can take pictures with the webcam of a laptop.  It can also disable a device, effectively “locking” it, not allowing thieves to use the device.

ProjectPrey also comes with a plethora of standard security features which are helpful for normal use.

Nokia and Microsoft are cooperating to provide access to exclusive apps made only for the Windows Phone platform and Nokia’s Lumia smartphone.  Currently, there are only 80,000 apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace, and the companies are attempting to grow their platform.  Among the apps are Tripdots, Groupon, ESPN, and the PGA Tour.

Tripdots will be exclusive to the Lumia for three months from its launch date.  Tripdots is a car maintenance app which provides information on vehicles to help improve gas mileage.

Groupon will launch this summer, and will include what it calls a “reality deal discovery function.”  According to Groupon, the app will use “points of interest” as seen through the phone’s viewfinder to locate current discounts in the user’s area.

ESPN is exclusive to the Lumia until May of 2013.  The app provides live scores, and can be personalized to the interest of the user.  It will provide realtime coverage of the 2012 Olympics, and extends to “second tier” sports such as tennis and NASCAR.

The PGA Tour app will be available exclusively to Lumia users for one year from its launch date, and will offer live and enhanced coverage of tournaments.  It will include highlights, player information, live tournament scoring, and will also include augmented and interactive coverage of some events.  Users will also have access to players’ current positions on the course and hole-by-hole scoring information.

There will also be many other apps exclusive to Lumia and Windows Phone.  Gaming company Electronic Arts is working on apps for this platform, as are Rovio, Time Magazine, Newsweek, and PayPal.