I started this conversation on Twitter but it is tough to really share my extended thoughts on this in multiple, detached tweets and I do not do Twitter Storms.

A report posted this morning from GeekWire’s Taylor Soper contains the results of a survey by comScore entitled “The U.S. Mobile App Report”.

That report shows some very surprising things and it has me asking the question of whether an app gap truly exists between various smartphone platforms.

Lets take a look at some of the data points in this report.

  • More than 1/3 of U.S. smartphone owners download at least one app per month; the average across the entire smartphone user segment averages out to just over one app per month being downloaded
  • The majority of app downloads is focused into just the top seven percent of owners who account for nearly half of all app downloads in any given month
  • A total of 42% of app use on smartphones happens with the users single most used app


According to this chart from the report over 65.5% of smartphone users do not download any apps each month. If you add those who download only 1 or 2 apps each month (17.3%) that percentage rises to 82.8% of smartphone users downloading less than two apps per month.

So all of that data brings me to my original question – is there really an app gap?

If you read many reviews of Windows Phones these days it seems a mandatory tagline is that the device lacks apps. It is almost predictable when any new device hits the market that it will be gigged because of this supposed app gap. Many of the reviews don’t even bother to quote numbers of apps in the various app stores at this point either. They just point out the supposed lack of apps.

In reality there is not an app gap.

The app gap that is detailed by tech bloggers and reviewers is a niche app gap and it is a very personal app gap which is based on that reviewers needs and not those end users who might be looking to buy the phone.

A good example in point is a recent story by Matt Weinberger at CiteWorld entitled 24 hours of Windows Phone: The app gap is killing me. In this post he rattles off about 11 apps that he uses on a daily basis that are not on the Windows Phone platform.

He does talk about the hardware being very nice and that the phone does meet the bare basics but still the driving force behind his commentary on this new Windows Phone is the lack of apps that he needs.

That makes it a personal app gap and not a general public app gap.

In fact, according to comScore nearly 66% of the smartphone owning public do not even download apps each month. That means the app gap is being driven by less than 20% of smartphone users and in all likeliness that number is actually much smaller.

How many tech bloggers and reviewers are there anyway and what percentage of smartphone users do they make up in that 20% number?

What is your take on this supposed app gap? Does it really exist? Is there an app that is a broadly accepted/required/needed app that is not also on Windows Phone?

Let’s talk about it in the comments or on Twitter.