Mobile // Mobile Devices
Commentary
9/1/2011
12:19 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
Commentary
50%
50%

One Developer Finds Smaller Platforms Pay

Kik found that when it released a messaging app on Windows Phone 7, usage on Android and iOS shot up. How is that possible?

Common wisdom suggests you should focus your energies on developing for the big platforms, making sure your app is solid before considering developing for smaller platforms. Kik found that not to be the case.

Kik develops an app called Kik Messenger. It's a messaging app that works cross platform. Designed for smartphones, it uses push notifications to alert someone not currently running the app that a friend wants to chat with them. From then on, the conversation happens just like it does in any other messaging app.

Something unexpected happened when it launched Kik Messenger for Windows Phone 7. For every user that signed up for it on WP7, 1.53 additional iOS or Apple users signed up as a result. To put it another way, the company saw a 22% boost from its core audience when WP7 users joined.

This makes sense when you think about it. Windows Phone is a new platform with relatively few users and apps compared to the market leaders. Its users are hungry for popular apps on the other platforms, so when one launches, a significant portion download and install it. With an app like Kik Messenger, they try and get their friends to use it. Chances are, their friends have iOS or Android, not WP7. That is why there's a jump in usage on other platforms.

With more and more apps designed to work with multiple users, it makes sense to target smaller platforms even if it doesn't make financial sense if you only look at that platform's share. Words With Friends is a Scrabble-type game that you play against others. Lay down your tiles to spell words and then wait for your friend to do the same. That could be in a few minutes, a few hours, or tomorrow.

I'd be willing to bet if the company, Zynga With Friends, were to release a WP7 app, it would experience the same thing Kik did--a noticeable surge in new players from its existing platforms, iOS and Android.

It's an interesting phenomenon. As Kik CEO Ted Livingston said, "Who would've thought?"

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Dec. 9, 2014
Apps will make or break the tablet as a work device, but don't shortchange critical factors related to hardware, security, peripherals, and integration.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.