By: Hillel Fuld
Just in case the astounding number of apps available on the various mobile platforms did not convince you that the apps industry is here to stay, two new mobile apps being released this week might do the job. One of the biggest, if not the THE biggest trends on the Web today, is of course social media. Social media means a lot of things to a lot of people, but to simplify things, I will just say that it is the new and widespread shift in the way we access the internet. If last decade was characterized by surfing the Web to GET information, today people use the Web to GIVE or share information.
Whether it is our location we are sharing, our status update, or the most recent story we encountered, social media is all about dialog. I have heard many different terms used to describe this new trend. Whether it is called Social Media, Web 2.0, New Media, and many more, to me, they are all different ways of saying the same thing. Some of the major platforms that support the social media trend are of course the big one, Facebook, Twitter, which can be heard mentioned in conversations throughout the globe, Digg, the website that allows you to read what others are reading and vote on the content, thereby promoting it and enabling more people to see it, as well as many others.
Besides the obvious factor that all these sites share in common, there is one more common thread as of this coming week, they all have native mobile apps. Both Twitter and Digg recently announced they will be releasing their very own mobile app for the site. For Twitter, the fact that you will be able to access your Twitter network on your BlackBerry is not the biggest deal, there are already countless apps to do that. I have tried them all, and chosen Ubertwitter to be the leading BlackBerry app for Twitter.
So, why is this a dramatic announcement on the part of Twitter? Well, Twitter, from day one, was a platform upon which tools and apps were developed. Twitter itself did not develop apps. Tweetdeck, Seesmic, Tweetie, these are all 3rd party apps developed upon the Twitter platform. An in-house mobile Twitter app is a new kind of development coming from the Twitter team.
However, for BlackBerry users, it might mean a whole lot more. I have not yet tried the official Twitter app, but I am assuming it will nicely integrate into the BlackBerry OS, whether that means real push notifications or advanced customization features, I can only imagine that if Twitter is releasing it, it will be a top notch app.
Finally, the biggest news for us app enthusiasts is that our interest in this market is justified. The app industry is estimated to reach numbers like 17 billion dollars by 2012, which should give us an indication that it is a serious space, but the fact that sites like Twitter are dedicating resources to develop a mobile app of their own, well that is just one more proof that the mobile app market will continue to blossom.
Digg, the highly popular site founded by Kevin Rose, announced that along with the new site, they will be releasing their very own iPhone app. Now, I have to be honest, I am not a heavy Digg user, I submit articles from time to time, but I will say that it is an amazing tool when searching for interesting content on almost any topic, as well as trying to drive traffic to one of your posts.
Rose announced back in October that they are working on their own iPhone app, and word is that it will be available as soon as tomorrow. I am sure the Digg community in its entirety will be downloading the app, which will do two things. One, it will get the app some serious download numbers, thereby bringing it to the top of the App Store charts. The second thing it will do is bring Digg’s popularity to a whole new level. Let’s be honest here, most Digg users are geeks like me and you, and they all have smartphones (I would guess most of those smartphones have an Apple logo on the back). These people are constantly surfing the Web on their phones, and a Digg app will allow them to do what they do best a lot more frequently. All this hype will probably also bring some new eyes to check out Digg, so all in all, this app is a pretty big deal for the Digg community.
In conclusion, it is pretty clear that when giants like Twitter and Digg spend the time and money developing their own native mobile app, that they see the potential in the mobile app industry. The truth is you don’t have to be Kevin Rose to see the numbers and success of the App Store, but like I said, these new developments just confirm what we already knew.
One more thing it confirms is the need to make some order in this never ending sea of mobile apps. That’s what we have Appboy for, and after today’s announcement, we will be pushing ahead trying to make Appboy the ultimate resource for everything apps.
What do you think a Twitter and Digg app means for the industry? Are you going to be using these apps? Please let us know in the comments.