App bundling is a growing phenomenon in the Japanese mobile app marketplace, but how does this new market work? And will the craze extend beyond Japan’s borders to the U.S.?
Since Japanese telecommunications operator KDDI launched its “au Smart Pass” bundled app service in March 2012, the product has racked up over 10 million subscribers.
The au Smart Pass offers access to 500 free and paid apps--all verified to protect personal data. Each user also receives 50GB of cloud storage for photos and videos taken with his or her mobile phone. Clearly, KDDI’s innovation represents a landmark achievement in the history of the mobile app sector.
What is Happening Stateside?
Sprint, a telecom company owned by the Japanese cellular provider Softbank, released the U.S.’s first app bundling subscription in August. However, this aptly named Sprint App Pass will most likely not remain the only such service in the country for long.
Currently, Sprint App Pass is only available on compatible Android smartphones on a Sprint contract. And according to a press release from Sprint, “App Pass, powered by Mobiroo, which develops and manages app subscription platforms globally, will be pre-installed on all new Sprint Android devices beginning Aug 29.”
Although some critics dismiss the Sprint App Pass as just another piece of carrier bloatware, the industry consensus is shifting as bundling platforms evolve. Mobiroo currently handles the app subscriptions process for App Pass, and until domestic telecom providers can roll out their own models or adopt Mobiroo’s existing system, they risk losing ground to Sprint.
How Does Bundling Affect Developers?
Apple launched a similar endeavor into app bundling in conjunction with the release of iOS 8. The hardware and software company now offers bundled apps for sale to consumers--at the discretion of each respective developer.
Specifically, Apple now allows developers to choose several apps of their own creation and bundle them together at a discounted rate to entice customers. Yet, this bundling method breaks no new ground, according to Tech Crunch, meaning that it might be left up to the telecom operators to create an iOS app bundling platform like the one Sprint offers.
However, Apple likely won’t even give them the chance, since the company maintains a tight grip on their app ecosystem. Even the near-field communication chip in the new iPhone 6 can’t be used for anything except Apple Pay. For the time being, however, smaller developers won’t be able to bundle their iOS apps since, obviously, several apps are required to compose a bundle.
Bigger developers, however, stand to benefit considerably, since they can bundle older apps with their newer titles and squeeze more revenue out of previously lackluster product sales. Upselling and cross-selling will benefit big publishers greatly and widen the revenue gap between the small and large developers.
Make the Best of the Android Marketplace
Developers who have made a single app for Android are proving more fortunate, as they can gain exposure by allowing Humble Bundle to package their apps with those made by other, like-minded developers, as Euro Gamer reports. The company mainly bundles together positively reviewed indie games at low prices, and then splits the profits with the developers before donating a large portion of its earnings to charitable causes.
AppMakr Can Make it Happen
Using AppMakr’s online app making platform, even first time developers can create an app for iOS and Android platforms. With the online creation tool, you can build a customized app in a very short amount of time and release it to the public with ease. Once you have created multiple apps and released them to the broader marketplace, the benefits of bundling will be yours to seize.
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