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App Ecosystem Weekly for 1/11/13 – iOS, Android, Ford, And Cheaper Tablets

App Ecosystem WeeklyIt’s January 11th, 2013, and welcome to this week’s issue of The App Ecosystem Weekly. This week, we’re looking at a couple of app-related product announcements out of CES this week, and predictions of iOS and Android sales over 2013. If you’re new to Kinvey’s App Ecosystem Weekly, you can follow us on Twitter here or subscribe via RSS here. We publish weekly roundups of interesting and thought provoking stories around the app ecosystem, app development, and the rest of the mobile world.

First Off: Ford Desires To Become The Google Of Cars
The proliferation of Android as an operating system for nearly anything has reached every corner of the world via tablets, phones, fridges, and other devices. Learning from the lessons of Android’s explosive growth in the last few years is Ford, which recognized the opportunity to become much more than a car marker when they announced that they are making the operating system for their cars available to other automakers and parts manufacturers. Essentially, they are making their systems for Sync AppLink available to any automaker who would like to use it for no cost and no restrictions. This is very much like how Google made sure that Android would proliferate in many different ways.

This is a particularly interesting story because there have been a number of attempts to create a good in-car operating system by a variety of manufacturers. The results have been very mixed so far – Some work well, some are intuitive, and some a disaster. I experienced this first hand after my mother bought a new Toyota this year and is still struggling to manipulate the oddly laid out and poorly labelled touchscreen interface. One of the difficulties is that in the current system, every auto maker has their own proprietary system and every app and function needs to be coded separately, and every third party application needs to be produced for each operating system. The result is that development is less productive and more about adapting software to run on various platforms instead of advancing the tools and features.

In this move, Ford hopes to unite many developers and cars behind one operating system which will increase the prestige and success of that platform, and ideally pressure companies that are not using Sync AppLink to migrate to the platform.

$150 7-Inch Tablet From A Major Brand: Acer
One of the tough issues with a race to the bottom in the tablet space is that no-one is sure yet where that bottom is. For the last year, manufacturers fought over who could package the best tablet at the $199 price point, which felt like the lowest anyone was willing to go without forgoing profit. Acer has announced that they will be marketing a new $150 tablet in a 7” form factor running Android however, bringing down the minimum prices even further. The tablet is designed for emerging markets however, and Acer declined to say when or if the tablet will be available for sale in the US or Canada. Other makers simultaneously announced other extremely low-priced tablets, showing that there is still room for prices to fall in the tablet space.

In other cost-related news, numerous reports of Apple testing a low-cost iPhone have been reported across the web. Apple tried to play down the rumors but did not dismiss them entirely, in typical Apple fashion. A day later, Walmart announced they would be selling iPhones with a data plan for $45 a month and no contract requirement. While this isn’t exactly what the first reports described (which was a new iPhone with cheaper parts to reduce costs), it is in line with the spirit of the message.

Analysts Expect ~300M iOS devices to be sold in 2013, and ~450M Android ones
Analysts expect 750M iOS and Android devices to be sold worldwide this year. That’s a lot of devices. Most of that growth is expected to come outside the US as tablets spread to new markets are gain wider adoption, especially at low price points. The breadth of app stores internationally plus this immense growth means that right now is a great time to get started developing for Android or iOS, and be a part of the mobile device transformation that is happening right now.

That’s it for this week’s App Ecosystem Update, covering mobile technologies, app development, and trends in the space. Please follow us on Twitter, subscribe via RSS, and stay tuned for future updates from the Kinvey team!

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