For several years, players across the value chain have been searching for “the killer app” for mobile – a must-have application, beyond voice and text, capable of generating substantial revenues for its providers. It was originally thought that videotelephony might be the 3G killer app, but it soon became apparent that very few people needed – or desired – to see the person at the other end of the line, and its adoption on the mobile has been negligible. Other services and products have been cautiously propounded as having the potential to become “killer apps” – notably mobile TV – but these have rarely been perceived as essential.
Since Apple launched its App Store for the iPhone 3G in July 2008, there has been enormous interest across the mobile ecosystem in seeking to emulate its model. Vendors, operators and OS providers have since launched a variety of competing app stores; others are poised to launch; still more are considering whether they should develop their own proposition. For all these players, an app store has indeed become a must-have; has become what they hope will be a killer app in itself.