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The future of mobile apps: fragmentation

This is a cross-post of my answer to a question on Quora:

My answer:

In the near future– in terms of time spent per app category (time spent on games, social networking, news, etc.)– increased fragmentation of the app marketplace.  More non-game apps (particularly, social networking apps) are moving into the mobile space and claiming smartphone users’ time—something that mobile game developers traditionally dominated.

The growth of indirect competitors in the mobile app space should be taken seriously by mobile game developers.

As late as Q1 2011, the average smartphone user spent 25 minutes a day consuming games on their phones—far and above the largest category of time spent per user on mobile phones.   A year later, in Q1 2012, time spent in social networking apps had increased 60% year over year from 15 minutes per day to 24 minutes per day (time spent on gaming decreased 4% to 24 minutes per day).  For the first time, another app category is rivaling games.  This trajectory of time spent per user per category is expected to continue; it’s possible that time spent on games on mobile devices will begin to trend down as the smart phone app market matures and fragments– and users are forced to make trade-offs between the ever-growing list of apps vying for their limited time and attention.

Image(Breakdown of time spent on smartphones, courtesy Flurry Analytics)

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