Feature Article

October 17, 2012

Mobile Apps Seeing Fast File Size Growth

As the iPad and other mobile devices get ever more popular, mobile application developers are trying to make their apps even more detailed and immersive. Not surprisingly, with these intricate mobile programs comes a growth in the actual file size of those applications.

A new survey by ABI Research finds that the application size for mobile game apps on the iOS has grown by almost 50 percent in the last six months alone.

In particular, mobile game applications rose on average by 42 percent. Most interesting is that mobile apps in general also grew in average size by 16 percent. That means games on the iOS platform have seen an even more dramatic rise in size than any other application. Quite a bit of the reason for this is because developers for iOS apps are trying to make their games even closer to the kind of games you see on consoles.

Google also saw its apps and games grow in size, but the iOS format saw a much higher growth rate over the last six months.

Senior ABI Research analyst Aapo Markkanen said the firm’s research illustrated two main points:

“First, Apple’s decision in March to increase the maximum size of 3G/4G-downloadable apps from 20MBs to 50MBs has clearly had an unleashing effect on developers. Their games can now be more complex and graphically polished, while still being able to benefit from the instant gratification of cellular downloads,” Markkanen said. “And second, Google’s move to start hosting files of up to 4GBs on Google Play has been similarly well-received among the developer community. Android’s old way of doing things was cumbersome for game developers and their customers alike, but there is evidence that this change, along with certain other improvements, is indeed making it a more credible gaming platform.”

There is a drawback to making games and apps that take up more space. With bigger apps comes the ability to download a smaller number of different apps. Some applications that might have found a home on an iPhone or iPad could get elbowed out because there simply isn’t enough space.

Edited by Braden Becker

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