The best new apps of July 2012
Small businesses dominate mobile software development in the U.S., generating 78 percent of the top 800 apps in Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play, according to a new study conducted by the Association for Competitive Technology, a trade group representing small and mid-sized technology startups. Small developers account for 87 percent of educational apps, 78 percent of mobile games and 78 percent of productivity tools, the ACT reports--the number falls to 71 percent of business apps, due largely to the popularity of services that connect subscribers to brands like PayPal, UPS and FedEx. "However, our polling of members suggests that many of the 'large business' apps were not built internally, but were built by small contract app development companies," the ACT adds.
Small businesses dominate mobile app development, but it's a big world, and the U.S. isn't the only seat of power. Foreign-based firms now account for 41 percent of the most successful mobile apps, a share that rises to 52 percent in the lucrative games category. At the same time, the U.S. is making greater inroads into the international market, with Americans representing 24 percent of the top app developers in China, now the world's second largest market for iOS downloads.
My selections for the best new mobile apps of July 2012 roughly parallel the ACT's findings. Small, unheralded developers contribute the majority of this month's picks, although there's one app from a well-known consumer brand, as well as one from a government agency and two connected to celebrated pop culture franchises. Most of the featured developers hail from the U.S., but one app was built in the U.K. and another comes from Finland. Regardless of who built each app or where it originates, they all share one thing in common: Quality.