I believe location will be a key part of a majority of mobile applications. This was the thesis underpinning Redpoint’s investment in SimpleGeo.
With 9% of US phones GPS enabled and growing quickly, high accuracy location is becoming ubiquitous. Additionally, while location does not an application make, it can greatly improve the utility of an application. Applications of all different types are starting to use location to improve their user experiences.
Location is broadly applicable
Skyhook has released a report on Android location based services (LBS) and the breadth of applications leveraging location. The diversity of applications is staggering.
LBS apps growing exponentially
The distribution of LBS services across categories wouldn’t be material if constrained to a small universe of applications. As the number of LBS apps is increasing, the diversity is increasing, further emphasizing how important location will be to more apps suited to many purposes.
As markets mature, do paid LBS apps grow in share?
The iPhone store, a more mature market place has a majority of of paid LBS apps. The figures are inverse for the Android store. Could it be that more mature markets drive toward paid applications?
At this point, it is difficult to draw that conclusion given the recent release of in app purchases for the iPhone store. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how location enabled applications monetize. Games will likely pursue virtual goods models while utility, fitness and other similar application types may continue to pursue a one-time paid model which I would suggest is the behavior we’re seeing in the iTunes store figures.
Location, location, location
Like in real estate, the key to success in mobile applications will be location. By informing game dynamics, purchasing behaviors and many other facets of life, location improves mobile experiences. In the long term, an enabling platform to build applications, store and analyze location data, like SimpleGeo, will help bring more compelling mobile applications to Fruition.