In line with further intimations this week of new app stores for Microsoft’s Windows 8 platform and HP’s WebOS 3.0, Forrester Research analysts are advising that major hardware and software companies shift their strategies to app stores for everything from desktop PCs to cars and home appliances.
App stores will show up in the future on every type of device, Forrester CEO George Colony said at Forrester’s recent IT Forum, pointing back to a recent report by Forrester about the rise of the so-called “app Internet” market.
By Thursday of this week, a research note from Citi Investment Research had surfaced, reviving long-time rumors that Windows 8 — a new OS expected to run across both larger PCs and ARM-based tablets — will include a built-in app store.
Also on Thursday, however, HP released information on its developer Web site strongly hinting that the previously announced launch of a new online App Catalog for webOS 3.0 — containing both tablet and smartphone apps — is almost here.
In the posting on HP’s webOS Developer Center, HP is telling developers that starting today, June 2, they can submit their TouchPad tablet apps for review and upload TouchPad screenshots to run in the revamped App Catalog.
Forrester: A $38B Apps Market by 2011
In its earlier report, published in February, Forrester predicted a $38 billion market for apps within the next three years.
“Even at $2.43/app, the app market will emerge as a $38B market by 2015 as more tablets and smartphones are sold and the number of paid for apps per device increases due to improvements in the app store experience,” noted John McCarthy, a Forrester analyst, commenting on the report in a blog post.
Speaking at Forrester’s IT Forum last Friday, Colony said that computer makers such as Dell and HP will design new types of devices that center on app stores, Meanwhile, large software vendors like Oracle and SAP will figure out app store-oriented pricing models. Microsoft already has some components in place for supporting an “app Internet” infrastructure, such as Silverlight, he said. Yet Colony also urged Microsoft to abandon its traditional, desktop-centric software licensing model and move to lower-cost “dynamic” apps, according to a written summary of Colony’s remarks from Forrester.
App Stores Already for iPad, Honeycomb and RIM
Indeed, after Apple pioneered app stores by opening an online store for iPhone applications, other producers of mobile OS soon followed suit. By now, several app stores contain both smartphone and tablet apps, including Apple’s App Store, Google’s Android Market, Amazon Appstore for Android, and RIM’s BlackBerry App World.
Barnes & Noble sells custom Android apps for its NOOK Color eReader tablets in its own online store. Meanwhile, manufacturers such as Samsung are already starting to provide app stores for their HDTVs.
Apps to Exploit Sensors and NFC
App stores, of course, live in the cloud. Some of the apps downloadable from these stores are Web-enabled. McCarthy seemed to acknowledge these realities in outlining Forrester’s longer-term vision.
“A perfect storm of innovation is unleashed by the merger of mobile, cloud, and smart computing,” he predicted. “I see innovation coming from the combination of apps and smart devices like appliances and cars, improved user experience around the apps by better leveraging the context from the sensors in the devices, and enabling the apps to take advantage of new capabiilties like near field communications (NFC) for things such as mobile payments.”