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Lite versions of apps are gaining in popularity on the App Store, according to an analysis of fourth quarter app activity by IronSource, an app monetization, discovery, and analytics company.

Games dominated the tops apps in Q4, followed by shopping, tools, photography, and lifestyle. In particular, Lite versions (or free apps that offer stripped-down versions of paid or deeper apps) did particularly well. These apps use less than 1 megabyte of memory and are designed for 2G networks and areas with limited network connectivity. Facebook launched its Facebook Lite app in early 2015, and other important players have since joined in.

Tel Aviv, Israel-based IronSource said that its Fastest Growing Apps platform contains trend information from nearly a billion sources a month.

Omer Kaplan, chief marketing officer and cofounder of IronSource, said in a statement, “That scale puts us in a unique position in the ecosystem that gives us a great perspective on the market, and we built Fastest Growing Apps as a way to share these insights with the developer community. By focusing on the categories and apps with the most rapid growth, we are able to effectively identify emerging areas of opportunity for developers.”

In November, Cheetah Mobile, the world’s leading mobile tools provider, joined the Lite apps arena with a lightweight version of its Clean Master app. Clean Master Lite was specifically designed for phones with less than 1GB of memory and a small installation package size of only 3.61MB. The app, which is popular in emerging markets such as India, was December’s sixth-fastest growing app in the 500,000-to-1 million download range.

“The increase of Lite apps being developed by important players in the app industry is a clear identifier that this is a growing field with the potential to become a key factor in successfully accessing emerging markets,” said Kaplan. “With massive populations and smartphone adoption at an all-time high, these markets represent a huge opportunity for app developers, and building Lite versions of their apps is a critical step in taking advantage of this huge potential.”

The fourth quarter also saw the rise of brand-driven gaming apps released in conjunction with a TV show or movie. IronSource said this trend linking the entertainment and mobile gaming worlds could prove lucrative for developers, who can learn from the success of apps like the Walking Dead, Minions, Good Dinosaur, and Star Wars, each of which were among the fastest growing this quarter.

IronSource was founded in 2010.



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