In the tablet/smartphone space I’ve generally been of the opinion that the number of apps is a bogus metric. I can’t possibly use more than a handful, and generally the most often used ones, email, calendar, etc. they all have. But I recently I read the post-counter-post by David and Jason of 37Signals which opened my eyes.
The following excerpt sums it all up:
Now you could argue that they could do all these things if the platform only had 50,000, 10,000, 5,000 apps. And maybe they could. You could do a lot on your Mac in the 90s, but a shitload of people bought Windows machines instead because there was more software available on Windows. They wanted to know that if they walked into the computer store, just about anything they bought would work on their Windows machine. Rational or not, people buy into safety. That’s why 200,000 apps matter.
It’s the safety of knowing whatever app you might eventually want will be available to you, even if you never buy it. That’s what makes iOS so compelling, not only does it have an astronomically high number of apps, it also has the built in integration with car and home electronics because of its MP3 monopoly. Forgetting for a second Apple’s cult like fan loyalty, it’s a safe bet to be capable of doing all those cool things you didn’t even know you could do yet.
I love my Windows Phone, but its market share is small and future uncertain. Its much clearer to me why Microsoft is betting its tablet future not on growing the Windows Phone platform up to the tablet, but instead by bringing full blown Windows down to the tablet. Windows comes with an astronomical list of apps and device compatibility already established.