Although there are more than one million apps available to download for Apple, Google, and Microsoft-powered smartphones and tablets, only a very sweet few ever become household names.
Like Angry Birds and Instagram, Draw Something by OMGPOP will make the crossover from hot mobile app to pop cultural phenomenon. And whereas those first two iconic brands took a few months to become mainstream, Draw Something -- more or less an updated version of Pictionary played on mobile devices -- almost literally is an overnight sensation, with more than 20 million downloads in first five weeks
While it took several months for Angry Birds and Instagram to attract one million users, Draw Something generated more than one million downloads in its first 10 days. Of course, Draw Something had at least two primary advantages over the older titles at launch that helped its distribution.
From the onset, it was available on both iOS and Android devices (Windows and other platforms seem inevitable). Moreover, there are now more than 315 million iOS and nearly 250 Android devices available (with more than a million combined new activations each day). By contrast, when Angry Birds debuted in 2009, the iPad was just a rumor. It took another year for developer Rovio to make an official Android version. Instagram is expected to become available for Android any day now, and lacks an app designed specifically for iPads.
With day one availability on iPhones, iPads, Androids as well as the iPod Touch, download and usage statistics for Draw Something are unprecedented (if not mind blowing!). To date, more than one billion pictures have been drawn on the app, including an average of 3,000 pictures a second drawn on March 11. Through 99 cent downloads, as well as in-app purchases for things like additional colors, OMGPOP's CEO Dan Porter told Business Insider that the title is generating six-figures in revenue every day. Draw Something's more than 20 million users have already surpassed the 17 million users of check-in pioneer foursquare, which is over three-years old.
Here is how Draw Something's ascent compares to other breakthrough applications.
Instagram (iPhone/iPod Touch, iPad: Free)
It's telling that the title picked by Apple as the top iPhone app of 2011 actually came out in 2010. What took Draw Something only 10 days to accomplish -- clear a million downloads -- required a far-from-instant three months for Instagram to flesh out. Once it hit the one million threshold, it only took Instragram another six weeks to double to two million downloads. Today, the app has more than 27 million users. And that's just the start. In addition to expanding to Android and presumably, eventually to other platforms like Windows and BlackBerry, Instagram reportedly is about to raise $40 million to fund ongoing marketing and development.
Angry Birds (iPhone/iPod touch $0.99, iPad $4.99, Android: Free)
While Angry Birds is regularly downloaded more than one million times per day, it took a few months for the most popular app of all-time to catapult to the top of the charts and attract one million users. Today, in addition to Android, Angry Birds is available for iOS, Android, Microsoft, BlackBerry and Nokia mobile devices in addition to consoles, web browsers and other media. The game has been downloaded more than a half billion times, is a merchandising powerhouse and will eventually become a feature film.
Camera+ (iPhone/iPod Touch: $0.99)
Of the hundreds of meaningful camera apps available for iPhones, Camera+ is the best (although newly released and free Camera Awesome is giving it a run for the money.) Camera+ became the 10th best selling app of all time by picking up where Apple's pre-installed Camera app left off. Still, to date Camera+ has only generated seven million downloads. While a new update that brings new features and the ability to integrate the service with other apps via APIs will no doubt give Camera+ a bump, it won't be catching up to Draw Something anytime soon.
Early pioneers pale in comparison.
In the months just after the iTunes App Store debuted in July 2008, there were a number of apps that made their developers rich. Yet when you add up even the aggregate overall downloads for early sensations like puzzle game Trism, mobile coupon provider Yowza and line drawing game Flight Control, the number won't even come close to what Draw Something will achieve within its first two months.
Android-only top sellers
Although there are several Android apps that have generated more than one million downloads, the titles that are exclusive to Android (or at least launched on that platform first) are few and precious. Among the seven-digit Android studs are Beautiful Widgets, Little Photo and Adobe Flash, which makes web browsing fully operational.