Mobile’s Hierarchy of Needs

Really smart article by Ben Thompson:

There is a “Mobile Hierarchy of Needs”, and understanding what needs have already been met, and by who, helps clarify the current basis of competition, who the relevant players are, and who is winning or losing.

Now Ben’s talking about platforms (iOS, Android), but every developer I know (or at least the smart ones) are looking at the relatable tier (services) and asking how they play there. The prices in the market for one-off revenue are suppressive, perfect for hobbyists and no one else. The only future is recurring revenues, at least if the goal is to build something sustainable. So far I’m hearing a lot about three models: ads, subscriptions, and in app purchases, where in app purchases aren’t “buy once and have forever” but where in app means selling the same or new things to the same customers over and over again. I’m waiting to see breakthrough revenue models as well.