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Venture Capital Backed Mobile App Startups Remain Predominantly Mobile OS Agnostic




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Are venture capital-backed mobile app companies developing their apps on a single mobile OS or are they developing them to work on multiple operating systems?  A look at 2009′s venture capital funding activity in the mobile startup space shows that despite the $100 million plus already invested by venture capitalists in iPhone predicated startups, venture backed mobile startups are generally developing apps which work on multiple mobile operating systems vs those which are platform specific.  By multi-platform, we mean their offerings work on two or more of the prominent mobile operating systems, e.g., the big six mobile OSs - Android, iPhone, Palm, RIM, Symbian and Windows.  Because we were focused on US venture backed mobile startups, the Linux mobile OS which has 5.1% market share but which is heavily China and Japan oriented didn’t figure into the OSs we examined.

As the graph below illustrates, 67% of 2009′s venture-backed mobile app startups are developing their applications to work on multiple operating systems while 33% are developing for only a single platform, e.g., platform specific.

09-0818-vc-mobile-operating-system-v4

Amongst multi-platform apps, the vast majority are developing their applications to work across all six of the aforementioned mobile OS platforms as illustrated below with more than 3/4 of multi-platform apps building on all six mobile OSs.  The few that were developing for less than all six demonstrated no strong patterns but there was some coupling of RIM and iPhone amongst the apps choosing to build on only two platforms.

09-0818-multi-platform-specific-mobile-os

Platform specific apps, or those companies who are building their applications to work on only a single mobile OS were dominated by those developing on the iPhone OS.  This wasn’t too surprising especially given the aforementioned $100 million invested in iPhone predicated startups.  As can be seen in the graph below, platform specific apps for the iPhone comprise almost half the platform-specific apps and are more than two times greater than 2nd place finisher RIM.

09-0818-platform-specific-mobile-os

Do you think VCs will continue to fund mobile apps that aim to work across all the mobile operating systems or are platform-specific apps the wave of the future?  And if platform-specific is where you see things going, is the iPhone mobile OS going to continue to be the choice for developers and the venture investors that back them?  We look forward to your ideas and insights.

If any questions or comments about this analysis, please feel free to leave a comment or write to us at team(at)chubbybrain(dot)com.  

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23 Responses to “Venture Capital Backed Mobile App Startups Remain Predominantly Mobile OS Agnostic”


  1. Warning: Illegal string offset 'keywords_time' in /home/chubbybrain/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/internal_link_building.php_/internal_link_building.php on line 103

    What about applications/services that run in the browser, hence running on all platforms?


  2. Warning: Illegal string offset 'keywords_time' in /home/chubbybrain/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/internal_link_building.php_/internal_link_building.php on line 103

    Stefan – Great question. We should prob have been more explicit in our writeup but these apps were included in our multi-platform bucket. Thanks for the comment.

    Warm regards,
    The Chubby Research Team


  3. Warning: Illegal string offset 'keywords_time' in /home/chubbybrain/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/internal_link_building.php_/internal_link_building.php on line 103

    [...] apps, you’d think it’s the only mobile OS that developers are interested in.  A new study reveals that while the iPhone is an important piece of the puzzle, developers are still remaining [...]


  4. Warning: Illegal string offset 'keywords_time' in /home/chubbybrain/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/internal_link_building.php_/internal_link_building.php on line 103

    [...] top six mobile operating systems: iPhone, Palm, RIM, Android, Symbian, and Windows, according to new data from research firm Chubby Brain, [...]


  5. Warning: Illegal string offset 'keywords_time' in /home/chubbybrain/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/internal_link_building.php_/internal_link_building.php on line 103

    [...] top six mobile operating systems: iPhone, Palm, RIM, Android, Symbian, and Windows, according to new data from research firm Chubby Brain, [...]


  6. Warning: Illegal string offset 'keywords_time' in /home/chubbybrain/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/internal_link_building.php_/internal_link_building.php on line 103

    [...] top six mobile operating systems: iPhone, Palm, RIM, Android, Symbian, and Windows, according to new data from research firm Chubby Brain, [...]

  7. MY Advisors says:

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    Thank you. This is useful information. As a follow-up it would be good to know:

    1) The cost to support each OS as a % of revenue. This would give insight into roughly how profitable each OS is.
    2) If developers/publishers would be willing to go through one vendor who aggregates all the OS’s and provides easy to use Web based pricing, merchandising and programming tools for a small fee? What would they be willing to pay for this (10% revenue share?)


  8. Warning: Illegal string offset 'keywords_time' in /home/chubbybrain/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/internal_link_building.php_/internal_link_building.php on line 103

    [...] top six mobile operating systems: iPhone, Palm, RIM, Android, Symbian, and Windows, according to new data from research firm Chubby Brain, [...]


  9. Warning: Illegal string offset 'keywords_time' in /home/chubbybrain/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/internal_link_building.php_/internal_link_building.php on line 103

    [...] Venture Capital Backed Mobile App Startups Remain Predominantly Mobile OS Agnostic | The ChubbyBrain… Are venture capital-backed mobile app companies developing their apps on a single mobile OS or are they developing them to work on multiple operating systems?  A look at 2009’s venture capital funding activity in the mobile startup space shows that despite the $100 million plus already invested by venture capitalists in iPhone predicated startups, venture backed mobile startups are generally developing apps which work on multiple mobile operating systems vs those which are platform specific.  By multi-platform, we mean their offerings work on two or more of the prominent mobile operating systems, e.g., the big six mobile OSs - Android, iPhone, Palm, RIM, Symbian and Windows.  Because we were focused on US venture backed mobile startups, the Linux mobile OS which has 5.1% market share but which is heavily China and Japan oriented didn’t figure into the OSs we examined. (tags: mobile development funding statistics trends) [...]

  10. Stephen says:

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    My experience, VC’s invest in high return and short term. This could be affecting your results as applications for RIM or WinMo devices is a more long term investment. The VC would then lean toward ifart(10 features) on an iPhone as opposed to an inventory(200 features) on a Blackberry. Also applications written for WinMo( or BB) sometimes involve corporate security and the mobile component may even be given free to support a server product.


  11. Warning: Illegal string offset 'keywords_time' in /home/chubbybrain/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/internal_link_building.php_/internal_link_building.php on line 103

    I like this post, do you know of a place where I can find this kind of stats and other resources? Im looking for the same graphs but from a consumer perspective. Trends for mobile platform usage.


  12. Warning: Illegal string offset 'keywords_time' in /home/chubbybrain/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/internal_link_building.php_/internal_link_building.php on line 103

    Victor – Glad you liked the post. Unfortunately, no sources come to mind for the type of data you’re looking for. If we come across anything, we’ll def drop you a line. Have a nice weekend.

    Regards,
    The Chubby Research team

  13. AP says:

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    This is mutli-OS/app platform problem is just a phase. Eventually, the overwhelming majority of mobile services will be consumed via the browser. I am not saying that it will be a replica of a PC browser – mobile optimization is still important – just that once the gap between browser and native app is narrowed, most consumers will choose browser based services.

    Now about that multiple browser issue…


  14. Warning: Illegal string offset 'keywords_time' in /home/chubbybrain/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/internal_link_building.php_/internal_link_building.php on line 103

    [...] ChubbyBrain did some research in the US on what mobile OS application developers are targetting. It is interesting to see that developer are not yet persuaded there’s a clear winner in the mobile area. Although iPhone is clearly leading in every possible way, it seems developers are not yet certain they will be able to keep this lead. [...]


  15. Warning: Illegal string offset 'keywords_time' in /home/chubbybrain/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/internal_link_building.php_/internal_link_building.php on line 103

    [...] For more on the ChubbyBrain research:- read this blog entry [...]

  16. jaen bernstein says:

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    How does this GetFugu application to be launched on 9-9-09 affect future developments? Is their app going to be cross-platform or browser based?
    thanx,
    jb


  17. Warning: Illegal string offset 'keywords_time' in /home/chubbybrain/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/internal_link_building.php_/internal_link_building.php on line 103

    [...] Read the full study findings at ChubbyBrain.com. Share and Enjoy: [...]


  18. Warning: Illegal string offset 'keywords_time' in /home/chubbybrain/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/internal_link_building.php_/internal_link_building.php on line 103

    I think that until mobile app start ups figure out how to make money from their apps, its not easy to predict. I think for now, the idea is to get as many users as possible to make it a viable inclusion on a single platform. As the apps start to divide between single and multiple platforms, the value of the app can be more accurately measured. Currently, hummba.com is only available on one platform but offers users location-specific travel information for free. Probably a case of what will make the most money in the end.


  19. Warning: Illegal string offset 'keywords_time' in /home/chubbybrain/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/internal_link_building.php_/internal_link_building.php on line 103

    [...] The technology analysis firm, Chubby Brain, reports that in 2009, despite more than $100m venture capitalists put into the development of applications for Apple’s iPhone, the lion’s share of money went into application development that will work on multiple platforms, such as Palm, Android, RIM, Symbian, Windows and iPhone. No discussion in this piece specifically talk about healthcare applications, but Chubby’s findings do show industry trends.  MORE [...]


  20. Warning: Illegal string offset 'keywords_time' in /home/chubbybrain/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/internal_link_building.php_/internal_link_building.php on line 103

    [...] be that there is one best OS for you.  In fact I was really interested to read recently that research on “well funded” US startups showed that more than 75% were pursuing a multi-platform strategy while over 50% were developing [...]


  21. Warning: Illegal string offset 'keywords_time' in /home/chubbybrain/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/internal_link_building.php_/internal_link_building.php on line 103

    [...] own companies selling apps. Companies allocating resources and departments to making apps. VCs investing $24 million into an iPhone app and creating funds dedicated to app development. Companies [...]


  22. Warning: Illegal string offset 'keywords_time' in /home/chubbybrain/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/internal_link_building.php_/internal_link_building.php on line 103

    [...] year, we’d written that venture capital backed mobile startups remain predominantly operating system agnostic.  Many VC-backed mobile startups were developing [...]

  23. Iphone 5 says:

    Warning: Illegal string offset 'keywords_time' in /home/chubbybrain/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/internal_link_building.php_/internal_link_building.php on line 103

    There are rumors that the iPhone five wil use qualcom chips which can do the two CDMA and GSM networks. Apple often hates products fragmentation. So if they could get a telephone that would get the job done on equally networks, I’m confident they will do it..

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