5 reasons Getjar could become the biggest mobile app store in the world

Thumbnail image for 176 getjar.jpgNever heard of it before? No, I hadn’t until last week.. but this open-source cross-platform app store has the potential to make it pretty big.

Getjar has just popped into the mainstream and out of techie subculture in the past few months. It started life as a community for app-geeks in 2005, a place where developers made apps, tested each others’ apps, uploaded and downloaded them. But branching out from its fanboy roots, the site has become a business – a place where developers make apps and put them up for testing, and where anyone with a phone with an internet browser can go to download them.

So, another app store.. why are we excited about this one? Five reasons:

Getjar is available on any mobile with internet access
Currently you buy into an app store when you buy a mobile phone: Blackberry users get the Blackberry app store, and Nokia users get apps from Nokia’s Ovi store. If you have an iPhone that’s okay, there are 2 billion apps from the Apple store for you to chose from. If you don’t have an iPhone, it’s not such a good deal, and that’s what Getjar aims to change by making an open-source app marketplace. So for the 95% of the population who don’t have an iPhone, this allows you to significantly increase the amount of apps available for your device.

Getjar means users can download software to their mid-range phone that could potentially give it the functionality of a more sophisticated phone. Turning say, a mid-range LG into something approaching the functionality of an app-enabled iPhone.

With sections on over 1700 different phones, tell Getjar what type of phone you have and it comes up with the apps it has that are compatible with it.

Easier for developers
They don’t have to pay to register with Getjar, registration is quick and so are approval processes.

Number of apps
currently there are about 85,000 apps (with 2 billion downloads) on the iPhone app store and 50,000 (with 650million downloads) on Getjar but, Getjar claim, because it’s easier for developers to develop on Getjar it is possible that they will rival or overtake the iTunes store in quantity and popularity of apps in the future. And it’s not necessarily the iPhone store that Getjar is competing with – compared to the hundred or so apps currently on the Windows Mobile store, Getjar’s 650million downloads is huge. To put that in perspective: if all the downloads from Nokia’s Ovi store, the Windows Mobile store, the Blackberry, Orange and Samsung app stores were combined there’d be less than half the number downloaded from Getjar.

Of course within that 650million only a certain number will be for any given handset, the Nokia N7 for example may only have 8000 apps which work on it, an LG might have 600.

Variety of apps
With only the slightest of censorship controls Getjar’s strapline is “Absolutely Everything” and it sure does have random shit. Because it’s easy access for developers lots of odd stuff gets made. Of course quite a lot will be dross but there are some sparks of genius. Interestingly, there are apps which will override your phones main functions and let you do things like dodge your network charges. Because GetJar is open-source it’s not beholden to any operating partners so it can offer apps like: “Free SMS” which lets you send texts for free over the internet.

A downside to this one is lots of porno apps – so every third one has something to do with horny babes. I was assured though, that they’re taking these out into a separate adult category. A significant number of Getjar ‘apps’ are actually shortcuts to mobile internet sites (eg MTV or the BBC) rather than true apps.

Low cost
Everything is free. Well it is for the meantime anyway. They’ll introduce charging next year, though like on iPhone, many apps will remain free. If development costs are low, it is possible that the price of apps may be lower as well. In theory the money involved could attract more developing talent.. we’ll see.

To get onto Getjar – visit www.getjar.com on your mobile browser or computer and enter the type of phone you have.

Anna Leach


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