Battle over app analytics accelerates with Apple's entry

Third party vendors will come under pressure to improve products to stay relevant

With Apple offering its own tool for developers to see how their apps are selling, pressure is on specialist vendors to improve their offerings. On Wednesday, App Annie announced it had acquired mobile measurement company Mobidia to do just that.

Last week Apple started sending out invites to test a beta version of its App Analytics tool.

Even if Apple isn't competing directly with paid services and tools from the likes of App Annie, Appsee and Yahoo-owned Flurry, the company's entry will have an effect on the market.

The features Apple offers are pretty basic, covering app installs, retention and in-app revenue, and are only compatible with iOS.However, Apple's entry shows how the app analytics market is maturing and becoming a more integrated part of smartphone OS developer portals. As products from Apple and Google improve, stand-alone tools have to become increasingly advanced to remain relevant.

One company that isn't resting on its laurels is App Annie. On Wednesday, it acquired Mobidia to provide developers with access to more granular, accurate app usage insights.

For now, App Annie's CEO Bertrand Schmitt doesn't see Apple's entry as a threat, but as a chance to improve its own data quality, he said via email. His hope is that Apple will let third-party tools access the data.

Schmitt also announced the general availability of App Annie's Usage Intelligence service, following a closed beta test in January. It provides developers with a better picture of how competing apps are performing. They can see how new features affect usage and which countries have the most active users -- data that can then be used when developing their own apps or planning an international expansion.

In another sign of things to come, Embarcadero Technologies on Wednesday launched what it contends is the first usage analytics service for desktop, mobile, and wearable applications. AppAnalytics is aimed at users of its RAD Studio XE8 development platform, which is used to build native apps for Android, iOS, Windows and OS X.

Desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets are becoming increasingly integrated with a new generation of development and management tools. It's one of the basic goals with Microsoft's Windows 10, for example. So it wouldn't be surprising if the same increasingly happens when it comes to analytics.

For developers, this will be a boost, helping them develop better apps. But at the same time there is a fine line between more in-depth analytics done to improve performance and analytics that becomes too intrusive for users.

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Tags mobileApplesoftwaremobile applicationsapplication developmentEmbarcadero TechnologiesApp Annie

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Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
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