Will 2012 Be the Year of the App?

The numbers vary from day to day, and source to source, but best guess is that Apple has around 500,000 apps in the store. Android Market has approximately 300,000 active apps and the Windows Marketplace has 40,000. That’s a lot of apps.

According to the Millennial Media Mobile Mix for October, Music and Entertainment is now the number one category of apps. This is up over last year, when the category came in 4th and 5th. (They used to be counted as two separate categories.)

Last year, Games held the number one spot but have dropped to number 2, kicking Mocial down to 4th place. Holding steady at number 3 is Communications.

Millennial asked developers about their app plans for 2012 and here’s what they had to say:

LivingSocial Makes a Big Deal About Black Friday

Every day, LivingSocial offers heavily discounted prices on local restaurants, event tickets and services. On Black Friday, they’re doing away with the zip code, to present a list of national deals that they hope will make the holidays merrier for both their customers and their marketing partners.

Among the LivingSocial Black Friday deals are $25 for $50 worth of accessories at Verizon, $10 for $20 at OfficeMax, and Hearst magazine subscriptions for only $5.

Keeping in the holiday spirit, they’re also offering matching donations for Toys for Tots and Sketchers will donate a pair of shoes to charity for every one of their $20 for $40 vouchers sold.

On Cyber Monday, LivingSocial is sticking with the online theme, offering national deals on top internet sites. $25 for $50 at Bluefly.com, $20 for $40 at Red Envelope, and my favorite $10 for $20 worth of Skype credit.

Walmart to Credit Stores for Online Sales

In retail, the sales goal is the sword by which you live or die and with online sales eating into the holiday profits, it’s going to be a tough balancing act for many a store manager. Next year, though, things will be a little better for the manager at your local Walmart.

Starting on February 1, Walmart stores will be given credit for online sales that originate in their area. AdAge says this is just one part of a huge push to make the retail chain a contender in the online marketplace.

Earlier this year, Walmart switched their Facebook page so it presents results at the local level. They’re also experimenting with a variety of shipping options, including ship-to-store. This option allows consumers to shop online, knowing that when they hit the store for pick-up, they’ll likely buy more items before they leave.

iPad Tops Kids’ Holiday Wish List

The electronics department of Santa’s workshop will be putting in extra hours this year as more kids are adding tech items to their holiday wish list. What’s number one? It’s not a video game player, it’s an iPad.

According to a new survey by Nielsen, 44% of kids 6 to 12 years old are interested in owning an iPad, and iPod Touch came in next at 30% and 27% want at iPhone.

Here’s how the tech items stack up:

All things considered, video game consoles are pretty low on the list, which is a good indicator of where we’re headed. Why own a player that can only handle one brand of game, when you can own a device that allows you to play multiple games, including Facebook games and connect with friends while you do it?

Google+ Numbers Are Up. . . And Down

If you look at a graphical depiction of Google+ traffic, it’s a pretty wild ride. Kind of like a Six Flags, gravity defying roller coaster — a slow warm up, then bam! Right to the top and straight back down again, finishing with a little rock and roll.

Experian Hitwise says that Google+ just had its third best week ever, with more than 6.8 million US visits. That’s a 25% increase month-over-month. Sounds good, right? Maybe not.

The LA Times says that when you look closer, what you see are constant declines in the user base. Everyone rushed in when the doors opened to the public, then again when they released pages for businesses. But how many of those people came back?

McDonalds and E-cards Ruled Online in October

Halloween prompted plenty of people to buy cards and gifts online, but it was McDonalds who took the number one spot in October.

comScore released their Media Metrix report on the Top 50 U.S. Web Properties for October and it was a mix of expected and not.

PartyCity.com had the second biggest jump in month-over-month traffic for obvious reasons. McDonalds launched a website to go with their new Monopoly game and it made them the fastest growing website in the top 250.

Thanks to a $200 million jackpot, Powerball.com rose over 20% and FLALottery.com went up 7%.

In addition to PartyCity, American Greetings, Hallmark and 1-800 Flowers all helped elevate the gift category. E-card sites grew 17% thanks to holiday cards and invitations.

Skype Video Chat Now Live on Facebook

A year from now, there will be absolutely no reason to leave the confines of Facebook. You’ll be able to catch up with friends, watch movies, shop for stuff, conduct business and do your taxes.

Until then, you’ll have to leave Facebook to do some of those things, but you won’t have to leave in order to make a video call. Skype for Facebook is now complete. Ping any of your online Facebook friends and a video window opens inside the page. No need to waste time logging on to Skype, you can now interrupt people instantly! See. Look at that happy face.

In order to video chat with more than one person, you’ll have to upgrade to Skype premium which costs $4.49 a month, or you could go use Google+ Hangout.