Apps on fire

John C. Tanner
22 Nov 2010

Apps are all the rage in the mobile content space these days. Every device OS has an app storefront to go with it, and coalitions like the GSMA-endorsed Wholesale Application Community are aiming to extend the trend to feature phones. Cellcos such as Vodafone, Verizon, SingTel, Maxis and China Mobile have launched apps stores.

Even network vendors are getting into the act - Alcatel-Lucent has been developing an application ecosystem that positions the network as the apps platform, while Huawei Technologies has just launched its "Digital Shopping Mall, a white-label cross-platform store boasting 80,000 mobile apps, as well as music, videos and e-books, for Android, Symbian and Windows Mobile.

But what kinds of apps are driving the phenomenon? For the most part, according to Nielsen, games are by far the most popular category, followed by entertainment-related apps (like Pandora), navigation apps (such as GoogleMaps) and, of course, Facebook. Which is fine, but also a bit predictable.

However, as apps get smarter, devices get more powerful and wireless network connectivity gets faster - and as more people use wireless devices to get online - we'll be seeing new apps categories coming into the mainstream.

This month, Telecom Asia highlights five up-and-coming app trends worth tracking, from social media and automobiles to augmented reality and mobile video calls. Oh, and - yes - adult content.

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