It’s a daunting time out there for companies, especially start-ups.  A big, threatening set of words certainly isn’t helping with confidence: mobile fragmentation.

What is it?  Mobile fragmentation is another way of saying mobile phone and platform diversity. It’s why there are BlackBerrys, Androids, and Windows Phones, not just iPhones.  However, mobile fragmentation has its challenges.  A mobile application made for an Android phone is rarely functionally compatible with BlackBerry, so a new version of the app must be created.

Mobile Phone and Platform Diversity

This can be frustrating to companies.  Aren’t iPhones the main market to appeal to?  How do you go about reformatting your apps?  Is it even that vital to reach these various mobile markets?

According to the International Telecommunications Union, there are almost 6 billion people on the planet who have a mobile phone.  While not all mobile phones support third party apps, it’s important to consider that the Union also stated almost half a billion smartphones were shipped in 2011.  That’s a lot of app potential!

So, what’s this got to do with mobile fragmentation?  Consider Nokia.  A Symbian smartphone isn’t a very popular choice in the U.S. market.  However, in India, Nokia dominates the market at 70% of all smartphone purchases.  Nokia is also very popular in the European marketplace, especially in the U.K.  Therefore, it is important to remember how global and diverse the mobile market is, who your target audience is, and if your applications can reach them.

Creating apps for other platforms can also get your company noticed.  It is easy to get lost in the large lake that is iOS.  Consider the Kindle Fire.  According to Nat Trienens, co-founder of Mobile Services for Fuzz Productions, “There aren’t as many apps in [Amazon’s Kindle Fire] market, so there’s a bigger opportunity to get better market position.”  You can grab a real opportunity to shine while reaching a wider audience through multiple platforms.

All this information can be extremely overwhelming.  Sure, developing an app for all those platforms would be great, but how can you do it?  And how can you be sure it would really shine? A solution would be to seek out multi-platform mobile app developers to expand the reach of your product. Keep your options open, and do some homework. Just because the iPhone is a great platform doesn’t mean your target audience is there. This is where a little mobile fragmentation may come in.

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