What free Apps UAE likes?

By on November 13, 2011
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Social networking, apparently.

The official Apple App Store has been live in UAE since the iPhone 3GS days, and naturally so because that was when the iPhone was officially launched in this region. And while BlackBerry and Android smartphones have been selling here since that time, it wasn’t until a couple of months ago that the app stores for these operating systems were available here. With that in mind, I thought it would be a nice idea to see what are the type of apps people use on each platform.

Now for the sake of apples to apples comparison, I have only looked at the Top 10 free apps on each store, since Android doesn’t have paid apps available for UAE at the moment.

As you can see, 60% of BlackBerry users go for social networking apps. That’s most likely due to the keyboard usage and how easy it is to write things down on a physical keyboard as opposed to a touchscreen which many people are still not comfortable with. Interestingly both Vlingo and Easy Smiley are core apps that are built around expanding the usability of the device, rather than add new functionality to a BlackBerry handset. Also, Shazam and Vlingo are paid programs that are currently being distributed for free by RIM to all of their users as compensation for the recent BlackBerry services outage.

Android users are also into social networking at 60%, but I have included Tango and Viber, two VOIP apps, under the ‘Social’ category as well. ‘ABarakat’ is a social networking app where users can send free messages on Facebook, Twitter and even SMS. There’s still a variety of users who’re going into different directions with ‘Photo Warp’ and ‘Al QebLah’, the latter being an app to figure out the direction of the Qiblah to assist in prayers.

The App Store is the polar opposite of these two stores, with the majority of people using a variety of different apps, Hotspot Shield VPN being the most interesting one. Facebook Messenger is the only social networking app on the Top 10 list, with 40% of the list being dominated with games. I’m surprised why people still use apps like Talking Rapper and Talking Tom, I guess every wants something for shits & giggles every once in a while.

So that’s an interesting find all things considered. When it comes to free apps, BlackBerry users like to chat with people, making full use of their keyboard. Android folks also like to connect with other people, but free calls seems to be as important as typing. And iPhone fans just love their games and draining their batteries.


From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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