As many of you know, the App Store landscape is becoming quite fragmented. There are scenarios where a device may have an OEM App Store, Platform App Store, Operator App Store and maybe even a 3rd Party App Store – as a developer, this is a challenge and you really have to think about where to spend your time to prioritize your energy. It’s not uncommon that the vast number of downloads come from one particular App Store or maybe even your own website. Gone are the days that being listed on an operator deck meant a gold rush unless of course you are still very feature phone focused.
In any case, as much as I’ve wished for reduced fragmentation, I haven’t seen it yet in 11 years in the mobile industry (and philosophically, it can be argued both ways as to whether fragmentation drives or stymies innovation). That being said, Apple’s success with the iPhone in some ways demonstrates what happens when you have 40M phones that can all run a single version of an app (ie no porting required). Nokia’s plans (at least what I heard) to focus on fewer devices that are cross-compatible going forward is consistent with this view (ie do you rememer J2ME’s original goal of write-once, run anywhere!?)
Anyways, my long-time friends at WIP have led a charge to ask operators and the WAC (Wholesale Application Community) to be cognizant of developers needs in an open letter to the ecosystem. Caroline Lewko is seeking additional comments/endorsements and had asked me to make this post, please check out the letter and provide your feedback – the goal here is to solve the App Store fragmentation problem – thanks in advance.