1) Apple Will Leapfrog Microsoft Yet Again by Using an App Store- Just like the iPhone App Store, the Mac App store will be a huge success. Apple’s January launch of the Mac App Store will be widely recognized as another Apple success, further causing market share shift away from Windows PC’s to Mac PC’s. Microsoft’s Windows 8, including its rumored Windows App Store, will not release until early 2012, and will be too late. Wake up Redmond, before Apple totally wipes you out of existence.
2) Hybrid Apps Featuring Native Clients with Web Functionality will Dominate Mobile- With all the hype about HTML5 apps stealing the limelight away from existing native mobile apps, 2011 will see a new movement prevail. In mobile, the majority of top apps will not move completely to the cloud as so many have prognosticated but instead will evolve into hybrid applications where native client software on the device will be coupled with web functionality. That’s right, I said it all you cloud fan boys!
3) Freemium Games Will Take Over the App Store- By the end of October 2010, 34 of the top 100 apps were free according to Gigaom. By the end of 2011, over 65 of the top 100 grossing apps in the iPhone App Store will rely on the freemium model. But it won’t be all peaches and crème for app developers trying to get in on the iOS freemium gold rush. The first half of 2011 will see freemium games being launched at a break neck pace. Other large studios will follow Sega’s Kingdom Conquest, Capcom’s Smurf’s Village and Glu’s Gun Brothers 2011’s launches with multiple freemium game launches of their own. This increased competition will cause the average cost of development for successful freemium games to go up considerably, as well as the cost for marketing, and result in only particularly innovative indie developers being able to compete. Distribution will be hard for freemium apps given the added competition, but even harder for paid apps given the abundance of quality freemium games.
4) Android App Developers Will Actually Start Making Money- It won’t happen until the second half of this year, but Android app developers will finally start making money. Google and its Android partners will finally make their billing process more frictionless, and the result will be app developers will finally start making money for the Android efforts. Unlike on the iOS, Android billing will first start to get to scale with freemium games and not with paid apps. Paid apps will continue to falter all year on Android.
5) Tablets will Garner Wide Spread Adoption in Developed Countries- The iPad will continue to sell like gangbusters, with a huge bump when the iPad 2 comes out. Not to be outdone, Android tablets will start catching up in monthly sales volumes of the iPad by the end of 2011.
6) Apps for TV’s will Not Take Wide Spread Form- The Apple TV and Google TV will not get to any kind of measurable market share during 2011, and as such, app developers will take a wait and see approach. As we end 2011, it will become increasingly clear how apps will evolve in the living room.
Bonus Prediction: Mobile Apps, Especially Games, Will Get More Social- Fueled by DeNA’s Mobigae launch and Facebook’s single sign on, mobile apps, especially games, will become much more social in 2011.