November 18, 2013
When you own a smartphone or tablet, you’re given a key to a unique ecosystem in which you can buy apps, and other digital content. Between Apple’s App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon Appstore, which one is best? Pfeiffer Consulting has the answer in a new report, entitled “Google vs. Apple vs. Amazon: The 2013 App Store Maturity Shootout.” In it, Pfeiffer answers two underlying questions: How mature are the three major app stores, and, how good could they be? The group finds that all three stores provide the same basic functionality. This includes organizing the apps in terms of popularity, category, and sets of criteria (such as "most popular free" and "trending"). Beyond this, they are each very different. Of the App Store, Pfeiffer notes that search options are “very limited,” with “natural language search" "completely absent.” They also feel that Apple could do a better job eliminating user experience friction, or UXF. This occurs whenever a device or service does not do what you expect it to do, or “lacks a key feature that should be available, slows you down or frustrates you in any perceptible way.” Still, they found the App Store was the best in terms of discovery assistance and content curation. The App Store also scores well in the presentation of individual apps. In total, the App Store received a 53.1 in the survey, out of a possible 100. Google Play received a 40.9, while the Amazon Appstore lagged behind at 34.1. Pfeiffer suggests there is plenty of room for improvement for each of the stores in the survey. The App Store’s overall “structure” is confusing, while the user interface has usability issues. It also says that calling user opinions “reviews” is misleading. They suggest Apple should add “proper” reviews and recommendations, as well as app-related editorial content. The Pfeiffer survey is definitely worth check out, whether you’re an experienced mobile device owner, or someone new to the concept. At the minimum, the survey provides a roadmap on how each store could be improved going forward. For more information on the App Store, see: Apple Is Promoting Its Native Apps And Services In App Store Search Results, and Apple Hires Toronto Blue Jays Assistant Manager To Manage App Store's Sports Section.