If you need convincing that is is good idea to create cross-platform apps, here is some evidence and news of a new tool to help you do it.
The latest report from Distimo, The Need for Cross App Store Publishing and the Best Strategies to Pursue, offers insights and advice that every app developer will find useful.
Distimo tells us that the average daily download volume among the top 100 most popular free applications in the United States is 4M - but it is how these downloads are distributed that is interesting.
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For free downloads it is Google Play (formerly Google Android Marketplace) that has the highest number of downloads. The Apple App Store for iPhone and iPad have 82% and 20% of Google Play's total, while and Amazon Appstore has 10% and Windows Phone 7 Marketplace only 2%.
When it comes to revenue, however, the Apple App Store for iPhone takes the largest share of the 1.9M USD daily turnover among the top 200 highest grossing applications, followed by the Apple App Store for iPad (64%) Google Play (29%), Windows Phone (13%) and Amazon App store (11%).
When it comes to sources of revenue, most of it comes from In-App monetization of free apps. Only in the case of the iPad do paid apps make up a significant source of revenue and this is due to education and news apps:
The message that the report is intending to put across is that:
Multi-platform publishing is increasingly becoming a need for publishers, because one platform is not sufficient if you want to reach the majority of your audience.
Currently there are 1.3M apps across the six major stores and 980K unique applications, meaning that each is published on average only 1.3 times. However, for the most popular apps the incidence of re-publication is higher as this chart, which covers the top 300 apps from each of the major app stores, including BlackBerry App World, shows:
89% of iPad apps are also available for iPhone, 74% of iPhone apps are also on iPad and 33% are also in Google Play. Google Play has 37% of its top apps on iPhone, 32% on iPad and 37% on Amazon. Both Blackberry App World and Windows Phone 7 Marketplace perform poorly in terms of re-publication and also in terms of incoming iOS apps:
The report's publication co-incides with the launch of Distimo's AppLink, that lets developers use a single URL for apps that are available on multiple platforms. AppLink also has the benefits of identifying consumers who are interested in an application on platforms on which it isn't yet available and providing app publishers with detailed statistics about their marketing campaigns and the effectiveness of different channels. It also helps consumers share apps they discover independently of specific platform.