iPhone's Application Surprises

iPhone users seem to like different mobile applications than consumers using regular cell phones or Personal Digital Assistants. Games, e-reader applications top the list of the most popular apps for the iPhone. What this could mean: Proliferation of touch-screen-enabled wireless devices could give a major boost to mobile gaming and mobile e-books/e-magazines industries.

Apple’s iPhone Web site lists 10 applications that are most popular with the device’s users. Many of the items on this list surprised me.

The two best-selling applications are games (and, remember, mobile gaming was supposed to be going down the tubes). Next is Zinio, allowing users to view magazine issues right from their handhelds. Then there’s Finger Scan, a fingerprint scanner simulator. Next, we see more games listed.

All of these applications are more popular than Google Maps, which has a huge following. They are also very different from, say, the top sellers for Windows Mobile-enabled devices as listed on Handango; users of those devices seem to buy a lot of software designed to improve their gadgets’ interface, and are more interested in mobile TV.

My conclusion: Touch-screen devices with large displays like the iPhone may be be opening doors to very different kinds of applications than what's popular on today's regular cell phones and Personal Digital Assistants.

I just heard that Jajah, a Web-calling service, has created an application especially adapted to the iPhone. Lots of other application providers that have not yet made a big dent in the mobile market may be following suit. Indeed, 40% of all mobile devices will feature touch screens in a few years. That could easily reshuffle revenue growth from one type of mobile applications to another.

One possibility: The iPhone top-10 list may indicate that mobile gaming and e-books/e-publications applications are about to get second wind.

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