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ThinkMind // International Journal On Advances in Internet Technology, volume 2, numbers 2 and 3, 2009 // View article inttech_v2_n23_2009_2


A Long-Tail Model of Mobile Application Usage

Authors:
Hannu Verkasalo

Keywords: long-tail; mobile applications; smartphones; application stores

Abstract:
In management research, the long tail phenomenon is typically linked to the longtail of product demand distribution, particularly under electronic distribution, storing and consumption of content. This article discusses the role of open mobile software platforms in creating a market for niche mobile applications. Open software platforms of smartphones facilitate innovation around new applications. This study makes a hypothesis that open software platforms are boosting the use of niche applications. Empirical data on smartphone usage is collected over three consequent years in Finland. The dataset of 1 145 smartphone users is analyzed in studying whether the long-tail phenomenon is evident in the demand for mobile applications. The analysis of usage-level data reveals that the application demand is more heterogenic in the newest panel study than in the earlier studies. In other words, though the top 5% of applications typically represent more than 90% of total application usage, the bottom 80% of applications (the long-tail part) already represent 2.10% of total observed application usage in 2007, whereas this tail is only 1.39% in 2006 and 0.89% in 2005. Average usage activity of niche applications has increased. The analysis reveals a U-relationship between the number of users and usage frequency of applications, meaning that many niche applications are being used actively by those who installed them, suggesting that the value of add-on applications is high.

Pages: 227 to 237

Copyright: Copyright (c) to authors, 2009. Used with permission.

Publication date: December 1, 2009

Published in: journal

ISSN: 1942-2652

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