Android, Blackberry Should Start to Look More App-ealing to Media Companies

Last Updated May 12, 2010 11:30 AM EDT

The smartphone sales stats released earlier this week by NPD Group should be a wake-up call to media companies. If you're focusing solely on developing apps for Apple's (AAPL) iPhone and the iPad, you're missing out on more and more of the mobile marketplace.

Because of Apple's hold on the modern media imagination, the NPD figures came as a shock. They showed that Research in Motion's (RIMM) Blackberry captured 36 percent of the smartphone market in the last quarter, while phones that run on Google's (GOOG) Android platform accounted for 28 percent. The iPhone accounted for only 21 percent. True, NPD had a caveat about the statistics -- that the surges in Blackberry and Android sales were partly attributable to Verizon Wireless' ongoing "Buy One Get One Free" deals, but you have to wonder if that's all it is.

There's also probably a large band of smartphone users (myself included), who would love to buy an iPhone but who don't want to drop Verizon, in part because we find it refreshing when our phones are actually good at making calls. Now that there are more iPhone alternatives coming onto the market with carriers other than AT&T, some of the newer Blackberrys, and Android phones, become an attractive option.

But the yen companies -- media outfits perhaps most of all -- have for hewing exclusively for Apple devices continues. Recently, I emailed Oceanhouse Media, which makes the hugely popular Dr. Seuss apps for the iPhone, to see if they had any plans for an Android app -- I wanted to buy it for one of my kids. The company responded, "We may eventually build apps for Android, but it is not on our short-term plans. All recent efforts have gone into the iPad."

While it's true that many media companies have built apps for other phones, there are many holes. In a spot check yesterday of whether popular media apps for the iPhone were available for Android, for instance, I couldn't find anything from the Washington Post -- even though it's the no. 3 paid app in news for the iPhone.

Those are just a few examples, but numbers do a better job of telling the story. According to data compiled by Business Insider in March, there were 170,000 apps for the iPhone; 30,000 for Android; and a piddling 5,000 for Blackberry.

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