You have seen them, the numerous media reports of Apple AppStore's saturation all prompted by either direct PR moves from VC's or indirect PR pushes from those VC firms that depend upon selling services to that type of fear. But what did the VC's forget to disclose to you and me?
Okay, for background Apple has set up iOS hardware so that there is no external SDCard and the internal memory is limited to 16gig in some models and 32gig in others. Assuming that iOS takes up 3gigs that's 13 gigs to 29gigs for 3rd party apps. Which means the iphone probably has a maximum of 20 apps assuming that everyone saves photos, etc.
Now, is that true of the other half of the smartphone market in the US on Android? With Android L 5.0 being at less than 10% and Android M 6.0 being at less than 2% somewhat yes as Android 4.x series does not allow storage of apps on the external SDCard and the internal memory on those devices ranges from 8gig in an economy android devices to 32gig in top-of-line android devices. However, on android 5.x and 6.x and 7.x devices it has a new OS feature that allows storing apps on the external SDCard and its enabled even for those economy devices!
That means we have a point of divergence where the AppStore appears saturated as far as the number of different apps the common user downloads as opposed to the Android App Stores where the number of different apps the common user downloads is in fact slowly climbing in the other direction.
Oh but there is more, given past adoption data for new android OS versions; android L is set to become 50% of the OS on devices in the market in less than 12 months. So as that happens one will see the number of different apps people download increase in the android app stores.
So what does that mean for your start-up? If your start-up has a service on mobile and wants to get a foot-hold and audience with mobile users, the platform to choose is Android and not iOS as the app saturation among device users point is diverging on the android platform.
Now some VC or one of their firms will claim that mobile app store's search is broken. Just as from 1995 to 2015 marketing of websites changed so has the marketing of mobile apps. The attention of the mobile device user is not captured in the search box of the app store, that part is true but the VC and their firm's conclusion that mobile apps are waning is not true on the Android side or 50% of the app market in the USA.
Start-ups will just have to be creative in finding out and using the information of where the android device user attention went to rather than the search box in the Google Play Store. If I can do it with no resources, don't you think your start-up can with that first round of seed capital? If you want hints, google search GaryVee and the term youtube and than watch the damn vids(GaryVee describes where device user attention went to and how to apply marketing to where the attention went to).
We all know about the advertising cost rate of $4 to $6 get a mobile app user. But, we than skip the reasons why its at $4 to $6 per user. Its at $4 to $6 because the attention of the mobile device users has switched from the static and dynamic websites we all grew up with to social networks. Because the mobile device users attention has switched to social networks that also means that the click-through-rate is higher and not the 1% to 5% that most web ads experience. Because the click-through-percentage is higher and due to the number of followers and the multiplication effect of it being spread through everyone's social network the cost to get each user is far lower at the $1.00 and lower in price per user.
That combined with the unlimited aspect of installed mobile apps on Android 5.x to Android 7.x devices adds to a divergent point as far as app saturation in an app store with app saturation in the android app store markets being reduced as those new android devices obtain market penetration.
For the first time in the US market since Android's launch in late 2007 we will reach an Android first type situation for start-ups; that is if you want to grab the audience and monetize that audience. Those that instead choose to face the app saturation in the iOS market do at their own peril and their own mis-spending of that first speculative seed capital round to get the actual mobile app users required for the next funding round.
Can your start-up afford to not choose an android first strategy? Do not wait until that seed capital runs out to suddenly decide that what I state might be the real reality of the situation as at that point I cannot help your start-up and at that point no one can help your start-up(more than once I have been on the end of the lying scam of a start-up who ran out of the speculative first round of seed capital and than decided that one had a better chance on android to grab an app user audience. I speak from experience of start-ups choosing the wrong mobile platform to grab that first audience.)
Everyone points to the mechanics of how the mobile app is listed and ranked in the Apple AppStore and Google Play Store as the rate-limiter on new mobile app adoption. Some ill-informed VC's even repeat that media and PR-line. Its not true as with everyone focusing on social networks we get our app discovery from social networks not the search box in the AppStore or AppStore listings. The actual mobile app adoption saturation point of Apple iOS devices is the Apple decision to have no external SdCards to store apps on to use. And on the Android Platform Google has added a new feature to Android 5.0 and beyond to allow android device users to store their apps to use on the external SDCard AND the market penetration will be at 50% for those devices in less than 12 months from now. This is a case where the VC's are wrong due to their over-reliance on iOS and not realizing that the US AppMarket is in-fact 50% android apps.
And the other aspect is that on the Android platform the mobile app saturation is MASKED. What do I mean by masked? Okay until market penetration of Android 5.x and newer devices is 50% the amount of apps downloaded by android device users will not be showi9ng the increase in app downloads trend among new device owners who use the apps-on-external-sdcard feature. You can see this by having four data-sets:
1. 2 apps
2. 3 apps
3. 1 app
4. 5 apps
Notice that the total is 11 and notice if I divide by 4 I get a number of 2.77. The 4th data set represents the new android devices with the apps-on-external-sdcard feature and the other 3 data sets represent android 4.x devices without that feature. The app saturation trend is masked because you and I do not see the increase in app downloads per new android 5.x and newer devices until 50% of the datasets are in fact new android 5.x and newer devices as no Mobile Analytics firm is tracking data this way where they break out android 4.x devices and android 5.x and newer devices in their analytical numbers aggregates. I only caught on as I started to see a difference in behavior of android device users in the new android 5.x and newer device users. VC's miss stuff like this because Android is not their expertise and their general iOS bias as most VCs carry iOS devices and not android devices.
That collection of information combined with an Android App first strategy and new social network advertising strategies could be used by your start-up to grab that first big app audience which than you can use to leverage ways to monetize that audience.