FOWA: Helping Users Discover Apps Outside the App Store

WeAppa

When it comes to mobile apps, it seems that Apple and its iTunes have a lock. Yes, Android has its marketplace, but it isn’t generating the volume of downloads and revenue that Apple’s getting. The company just announced it’s served up 15 billion downloads. Quite an accomplishment. It seems that iTunes is the only place iPhone users are discovering mobile apps.

When it comes to Web apps, which are definitely bleeding over to mobile apps, there’s no one-stop shop where everyone goes. So, Mozilla hopes to open up new opportunities for Web app discovery beyond the online store.

At the Future of Web Apps conference in Las Vegas, I spoke with Todd Simpson, Chief of Innovation at Mozilla. In his presentation, he demonstrated two alternative ways of discovering apps beyond an app store.

Discover apps on websites: Visiting NYTimes.com, Simpson showed a great example of how visitors could simply discover and install the newspaper’s app. First thing, they get a pop up asking if they’d it. When they say yes, it replaces their NYTimes.com experience with a richer experience.

App replacement of a website goes well beyond a “bookmark this site” recommendation. More importantly, if you have Firefox Sync installed, it will sync the app install across all of your devices.

Social discovery: As we all know, people are more likely to install a new app if it’s recommended and being used by their friends. Mozilla is working on making it easier to share Web apps that you like.

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