New applications allow the iPhone to compete with business-ready smart phones.
Games are the most popular iPhone apps, but a new crop of business apps could spread enthusiasm for the iPhone among professionals. Two popular new business apps are iJobs and a Cisco conferencing program, WebEx.
It's a sign of the times—this January the top paid business app is iJobs, which searches job sites for openings in the user's area. But iJobs is only the 69th most popular paid app overall. Business apps are currently only about 2 percent of the 17,000 apps released in nine months, according to 148Apps.com, which gathers data on apps.
Still, the business category is ripe for expansion according to Jeff Scott, the editor of 148apps.com: "Developers are going to start developing applications that fit the current climate," Scott said. "That's a great way to stand out, a great way to make a few sales, and it definitely fits the economic climate."
More business apps for professionals could broaden the iPhone's market share. One new offering winning over business users is a Cisco product that lets users participate in web conferencing calls on the iPhone. The app, WebEx, has been downloaded over 50,000 times, putting it in the top ten business apps.
"I think we're definitely giving the iPhone more credibility that it can be used in a business setting," said Grace Kim, the senior manager of product marketing at WebEx. She believes the iPhone can soon compete with smart phones for business customers: "We've heard a lot of end users, let's say executives, bringing their iPhone to work."
The popularity of WebEx makes sense to 148Apps' Jeff Scott, since the product already has millions of current users. It also helps that the app is new, since newer apps do better on the top ten lists.
"It seems like a fantastic app for businesspeople who are used to using WebEx," Scott said. "(Conferencing) is one of those things that the iPhone is definitely lacking, but there's great opportunity there, it's an extremely powerful device. It's just a little bit underutilized."