GetJar teamed up with Zynga to announce the debut of new mobile games: Mafia Wars and Zynga Poker. Mafia Wars, already a familiar name to Facebook users, is a GetJar exclusive, meaning it's being launched first on the GetJar.com website prior to any other app store. Zynga Poker is an Android-only offering.This week,
The announcement of new games, however, is only mildly interesting. What's really notable about this news, at least in our opinion, is that Mafia Wars is an HTML5-powered, browser-based game. And its exclusive launch on GetJar points towards the possibility that this third-party app store could soon serve as a worthy launchpad for many more HTML5 mobile Web applications in the near future.
GetJar a Launchpad for HTML5 Mobile Web Apps?
GetJar, to be clear, is not just a site featuring only mobile Web apps. It's an independently run third-party app store which offers apps across multiple platforms including iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Symbian, Windows Mobile and others. But it's also one of the only major outlets where Web developers can promote their apps alongside native apps, with no real distinction to the end user.
Mobile Web developers can add their apps to GetJar just the same as any other native app developer can - they upload an icon and screenshots, fill out the name and description details, add the URL, etc. When an end user installs the app on their device, it appears on the homescreen, like any native application would. Not only does this provide a place for Web developers to promote their HTML5-enabled mobile applications in addition to or as an alternative to a native smartphone app, it also lets Web developers reach an often overlooked segment of the market - the three-quarters of the population who don't own smartphones. Among that group, many have capable Web browsers, but lack an app store of their own, like iTunes or the Android Market.
Also Helpful: Marketing Assistance
There's another aspect to GetJar that makes it a worthwhile place for a Web developer to launch - and that's its GetJar Plus offering. "Plus" is a special category of apps on GetJar, where "best of breed" apps are featured, and where there's some element of exclusivity. What that means exactly, is defined loosely for now. It can be an app where, like Mafia Wars, it's promoted exclusively on GetJar for a limited time, it can be a promotion for a publisher that is doing a lot of marketing with GetJar, or it can be something else entirely.
At present, GetJar is reaching out to publishers, both big and small, to offer them this opportunity. Some previously launched "Plus" apps have included an Angry Birds exclusive and one for the Salvation Army, to name of couple of the more recognizable offerings.
Do GetJar Launches Translate to Big Numbers?
Angry Birds, of course, performed well, when launched on GetJar: 1 million downloads in 24 hours. However, Angry Birds was already a well-known brand at launch. What's interesting is in seeing how lesser-known publishers have fared when launching with GetJar.
- An app called Race Driver: Grid from Codemasters was able to reach 500,000 in 2 weeks thanks to its promotion.
- Stranded: Mysteries of Time (premium game, given away free) reached 180,00 downloads in 2 weeks
- Brain Genius 2 (another premium game giveaway) reached 120,00 downloads in 2 weeks
- Salvation Army's app reached 65,000 downloads in less than a week
And Mafia Wars? The HTML5 Web application that launched only 3 days ago? It already has 115,000 downloads as of today.
When an app launches exclusively on GetJar, the developer has an edge prior to launching in another app store because the application already has a good-sized install base. That means they'll have a better shot at having their app promoted in the official mobile app store for a given platform.
Plus, for mobile Web developers, it's an opportunity to drive downloads to an app that doesn't otherwise have an official app store of its own where it can get noticed.
Does Building for Web Fit Your Mobile Strategy?
All that being said, developers considering building a mobile Web application need to consider the idea carefully before doing so. Although GetJar can help with a publisher's marketing efforts, it has to make sense with a publisher's overall mobile strategy. If an app requires a deep, native experience with a particular platform to work best, then a mobile Web app would be a no-go. But if a developer is looking for reach, there's no better platform than the Web.
Other Web app stores like Google's Chrome Web Store and Mozilla's open app store focus on apps that run in browsers, but that aren't (necessarily) designed for the best mobile experience. Earlier this year, we also tried out OpenAppMkt, a Web-based app store (also available as a mobile app) that serves as a place to find other browser-based mobile apps. But it doesn't have the reach of GetJar, currently the world's second largest app store in terms of downloads.
Assuming that developers will soon turn to HTML5 as the mobile platform landscape becomes increasingly diverse, GetJar seems an ideal launching grounds for those mobile Web-based apps going forward.