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Forrester: Think carefully before jumping on the app bandwagon

Be aware of extra development and marketing costs

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Forrester has warned businesses to carefully consider the benefits of developing an app before succumbing to “application hype”.

Before launching an app, Forrester said that companies need to compare the functionalities offered by mobile websites and apps, and ask themselves which ones they really need. For example, an app has specific capabilities, such as being able to integrate more deeply with a handset’s core functions including GPS and the camera.

Writing in 'The Future of Application Stores' report, Forrester analyst Thomas Husson said that businesses should also be aware that apps only reach a minority of consumers.

“Today, the Apple App Store provides the best application experience. However, only two percent of European and four percent of US consumers report owning an iPhone. Reach is limited in 2010,” he said.

Forrester said that on average, just four percent of European adults with mobile phones report downloading apps at least once a month. Even among smartphone owners in Europe, just 15 percent said they download an app on a monthly basis. In contrast, 64 percent of iPhone users in Europe download apps on a monthly basis.

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