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Mplayit expands Facebook-based mobile app store to include Android

The company intends to copy the claimed success of its iPhone Arcade on Facebook. Mplayit said it is harder to find applications for Android smartphones and its Facebook store will address that challenge.

“It’s funny how much attention the iPhone gets when 95 percent of people don’t have one,” said Michael Powers, founder/CEO of Mplayit, San Francisco. “Because you’re seeing Android devices on multiple carriers from Motorola, HTC, Samsung, LG and the rest, we think that Android will overtake iPhone in the near future. 

“And because there’s so much room for improvement on Android app discovery, we’re betting big on Android,” he said.

Mplayit is a global provider of social merchandising for mobile games and applications. 

Casual playing
The Mplayit platform lets consumers discover mobile applications by tapping their trusted network of friends for recommendations, ratings and reviews.

Mplayit targets 90 percent of consumers with application-capable devices that have never downloaded an application.

Mr. Powers said early-adopting technologists are pretty much tapped out, but the real growth opportunity in the application market is with more casual consumers. 

Casual consumers are on Facebook multiple times a day, primarily to kill time.

Mplayit said it makes it extremely easy for these casual users to find, try and buy applications for their mobile device.

Slashing trends
Visitors to Mplayit’s Web-based application store will find promotional opportunities for application developers.

“Every viral phenomenon starts with a seed, and we provide the most viral environment possible for developers to break out and get noticed,” Mr. Powers said. “That said, we regularly discover compelling new apps making the rounds that we’d never heard of. 

“These probably wouldn’t have gotten noticed without our platform, and if we can help those apps along, so much the better for everyone,” he said.

Mplayit’s top shared applications for Android devices over the holidays included ReaderScope, Google Sky Map, Power Manager, Barcode Beasties and Google Goggles.

For the iPhone, top shared applications included Finger Physics, iFarm, Puzzle Paint 3D, Sony Music Holiday Yule Log and Tap Tap Tattoo.

Top BlackBerry shared applications included Call Blocker Pro, The Hockey News, Firefighter’s Calculator, Vlingo and Time Mobile.

While the top applications are a mix of paid and free, Mr. Powers said prices are trending downward toward free, with ad support. He said he expects the trend to accelerate as in-application monetization opportunities increase.

“Given the way everything else has unfolded in mobile, the shift to free apps will happen faster than any of us expect,” Mr. Powers said. “Of the free apps, most volume will be in the ad-supported apps, but most revenues will be made via in-app purchases.”