Tech Giants Battle to Control Evolving Mobile Experience

According to the Wall Street Journal, there is no doubt that the smartphone is the current, dominant computing device. Just consider the numbers: Nearly 700 million smartphones were shipped worldwide last year, according to Strategy Analytics. That’s nearly twice as many PC shipments. And it was only a few years ago that PCs were atop that statistic. Now people are using smartphones for a wide variety of functions.

“No wonder a war is being waged among tech’s biggest players to control the mobile experience,” writes WSJBut it’s not just the big guns. “Facebook is just one of many players competing for attention. Google and Apple are others. Meanwhile, there are thousands of smaller app developers taking on these giants, and having great success in some cases,” adds the article.

Research about which apps are popular on mobile devices shows that “people love games,” notes WSJ. “In the U.S., by revenue, nine of the top 10 apps on Google Play are games as are eight of the top 10 apps on iPhone. ‘Candy Crush Saga,’ where players must quickly arrange brightly colored candies, is No. 1 for both.”

In a bit of news that might surprise some, “Google is actually the most popular publisher of apps on Apple’s mobile devices these days,” explains the article. “Together with popular apps like Chrome, Search and Gmail, it is clear that Google is building a strong connection directly with the users of Apple products. The clear risk for Apple is that as iPhone users grow accustomed to Google’s mobile apps, they may more-readily defect to rival devices running Google’s Android.”

While Facebook dominates mobile usage, there’s a rising crop of messaging services that could threaten the social network’s popularity. “Snapchat, which allows users to send photo messages that disappear after a brief time, is currently ranked seventh for iPhone and 20th for Android in the U.S., according to App Annie,” writes the article. And “another threat to Facebook could come from apps like WhatsApp Messenger. Ranked among the top paid apps in the U.S. for iPhone, WhatsApp is a popular alternative to standard text messaging apps that come with smartphones. It is a threat to Facebook because it is rapidly recreating Facebook’s key asset, a social network, largely based on users’ smartphone address books.”