"What makes a good mobile app? In general, it's not whether you download it but whether you keep using it.
The best mobile apps are not merely interesting, fun or useful, but they're engaging. And new research from the mobile metrics firm Localytics indicates that only about one in four mobile apps succeed at being engaging.
In January, Localytics analyzed data about how thousands of Android, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 apps are being used.
They found that 26% of all apps downloaded are opened only once and then never used again. This week, they released new results showing that the exact same percent (26%) of mobile apps are used 11 times or more -- a pretty good benchmark of engagement. (I'll get to what happens with the remaining 48% of apps farther down).
The study offered no examples of which apps fell into each category.
Also, the study offered no statistics on apps that people tend to keep running in the background -- especially for purposes such as security, power management or instant messaging. Nor did it mention pre-installed "crapware" apps that are difficult to uninstall without rooting or jailbreaking the phone and which often auto-launch despite the user's wishes.
(On my HTC/Verizon Android phone, CityID and Slacker Radio come to mind as conspicuous auto-launching crapware.)
Take a look at your own smartphone or tablet, if you have one. Which apps do you regularly keep on your home screen, because you access them daily (or several times daily)?
Chances are these apps all allow you to do something that is especially important or rewarding to you -- organize your schedule, keep up with friends, take pictures, get directions to a location, read an e-book, browse the Web or play a favourite game."