We are living in the smartphone era. The number of smartphone users worldwide is projected to amount to nearly 2.7 billion by 2019. Which means more than a third of the total global population will use a smartphone. India, the second most populous country in the world, is projected to pass the United States in the number of smartphone users. There is a constant inevitable buzz in the mobile space.
Smartphone OEMs in India
India is at the helm of the digital revolution. India is the world’s second largest mobile phone manufacturer after China. And with the current pace of growth, India is not far from becoming the leading handset market in the world. India now accounts for 11 per cent of global mobile production, which was only 3 per cent in 2014. With the introduction of low-cost internet and budget smartphones, India has seen a boom in this industry. In addition, the Chinese invasion of smartphones in India is really picking up with the likes of OPPO, VIVO, Xiaomi among others.
However, we want to address the future here. The future is both reliant on technology and ultimately the end user. On that note, let’s take a look at what’s happening with the smartphones today.
Smartphone OEMs of Today
It’s no doubt that the success of a smartphone is heavily banked on the overall experience. The end user experiences majorly two parts when it comes to the smartphone, the hardware and software layer. Smartphone manufacturers are typically masters when it comes to the hardware. Recent developments in the camera space, ‘the notch’, ram utilization, battery and so on point to this fact. OEMs are in a constant rat race to bring the best quality as well as lowering the margins in order to keep the costs down. Typically OEMs make their money on value-added software services. In essence, this becomes their primary source of revenue simply because of the nearly negligible margins in the hardware space. However, to complement the hardware and overall user engagement, software or plays an important and equal role. But what is the software layer exactly? When we say software, it refers to mainly the UI on the mobile device. In essence, it is the layer that the user interacts with to perform various tasks on the smartphone.
We have seen the importance of UI in smartphones. For a long time, the standard norm was to build on standard Android. However, the lean structure of the Android interface and lack of flexibility doesn’t allow for several use cases. Developers have taken steps to enhance this experience. For example, Xiaomi, the China-headquartered smartphone OEM started out as a software company that transitioned into making smartphones. One has to imagine the scope of talent, expertise and resource needed to build such a system. This is not the case for a majority of other OEMs. While there is a need to have a dedicated software layer to enhance the overall user experience, not all smartphone manufacturers have the bandwidth to create one for themselves. In turn, this can cause a problem for new-age smartphone developers.
How do we solve this problem for the future? Hold that thought…
Enter the Super App Phenomenon
A smartphone is called ‘smart’, simply because of the sheer number of applications, it can run. A recent report by Statistica indicated that there are over 8 million apps on the Google play store. However, despite the sea of apps available, in reality, only a few of them make it to the frontline of users hands. How many are the ‘few’? Well, studies indicate that users use an average of 9 apps daily and a maximum of 30 apps on a monthly basis. What does this point to? Well, the answer could lie in a ‘Super App’. A lot of talk has been floating around on this topic. In essence, a Super App can be described as a single network that can perform multiple tasks. Ideally, these tasks could vary from communication, shopping online, book rides, order food all in one single platform called the ‘Super App’. Its been a hit especially in the South-East Asian market, WeChat in China, is a prime example with over 1 Billion active users per month.
AppBrowzer, the ‘Uber for Apps’
What makes AppBrowzer a ‘Super App’? AppBrowzer is India’s premier leading all-in-one app. With over 500+ apps across multiple categories, it caters to various use cases. Further, AppBrowzer is more of an ‘Uber for Apps’. What do we mean by that exactly? Let’s take the case of Uber for a minute. The ride-hailing app since its inception serves to be the bridge between users and taxi drivers. When a user at any point of time is in need of a taxi, uber is the knee-jerk service that provides this service. In the same way, AppBrowzer acts as the bridge between end users and multiple applications. This is the future of connecting end users and apps on the mobile.
Let us take the example of booking cabs to better understand this concept. Imagine a user is looking to book a cab in Bangalore from Koramangala to MG Road on AppBrowzer. Once the start and end points are entered, the platform will show multiple options as tabs to the user. The standard options will include the major providers namely Ola and Uber. Now with this contextual data of the start and end points, other apps/service providers such as the carpooling app QuickRide, the scooter sharing service Bounce and other related apps can now bid for a place in this space. The advantage of this approach will allow the user to book with multiple options without leaving the platform.
In the same way, any app in the AppBrowzer ecosystem will now be able to present their actions to users based on the context relevant to their service or product. This level of advertising we believe will change the AdTech industry as we know it. Users will now get instant access to multiple service providers across different categories.
In turn, this will be a leapfrog from traditional mobile advertising. Ad networks and publishers today are limited to standard ad placements namely the banner, interstitial etc. Although these provide for a contextual inventory of ads to a degree, it still requires users to leave the platform and download the particular app separately. With the Super App coming to the forefront, advertisers can now reach their users through super contextual programmatic ads within the platform itself. Through advanced data analytics and real-time user behaviour, advertisers can now push their app to the most relevant user. This will change the AdTech industry as we know it.
All this being said, there are a couple of things to consider going forward. With access to data and user insights, there is a lot of scope for both the advertisers and the platform itself. Super Apps have the potential to become major data centres for mobile players that looking to target this segment of users. But right now, the technological solutions are not in place to allow a seamless integration in Super Apps. The advertising ecosystem is overdue for this concept, one that can connect brands, agencies, and this new breed of super apps under one roof.
Connecting the Dots
So how will this help Smartphone OEMs? The way forward is to integrate this kind of Super App platform to their hardware. Imagine the kind of experience that will be provided for end users. Now OEMs can focus on building quality hardware and leave the software layer to this emerging trend of the Super App platform. This will create more revenue streams and an opportunity not to be missed. The possibilities are endless. This is where we believe the industry is heading to, in turn changing the way we use the mobile and apps. On that note, we have an exciting announcement to share soon. Stay tuned!
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