What are the most popular mobile applications in the world? That depends on the mobile platform and whether it's free or not. Distimo today published its lists of top apps for March 2013, and the various lists make the suggestions about the users behind them.
The number-one free-app list in the Apple App Store for March was Candy Crush Saga, while in the Google Play store it was Facebook.
"Comparing these stores, one notices that Google Play's top 5 is dominated by communication/social networking apps and includes only one game: Temple Run 2 (5)," Distimo's Tiuri van Agten blogged April 8. "On the contrary, three out of five apps in the top 5 free applications for Apple App Store were games: Candy Crush Saga (1), 4 Pics 1 Word (3) and Temple Run 2 (4)."
van Agten also pointed out that the two apps on the Apple App Store's top-five list that weren't games were Google apps—YouTube (2) and Google Maps (5).
In addition to Facebook and Temple Run 2, Google's top-five list also included Skype (3), WhatsApp (2) and Facebook Messenger (5).
The top-five revenue-generating apps in both stores were all games, though the only game to make it to both lists was Candy Crush Saga.
The top-five free apps in the BlackBerry World store were all communication apps: BlackBerry Messenger, messaging app Line, WhatsApp, WeChat and Facebook.
The top-five free apps in the Amazon Appstore were more in line with the Apple App Store. StatsPac, a graphing calculator app, topped the list, but was followed by four games: Doodle Jump, Temple Run 2, The Croods and Bingo Blingo.
In the Samsung store, things were also pretty playful—four games and flashlight app.
In the Windows Phone Store, the top-five were three games, a flashlight app and a photography app for creating interactive panoramas.
The Nokia Ovi store had just two games (Adventure of Ted and Mountain Race) on its top-five list, and those were preceded by, respectively, WhatsApp S40 Messenger, Opera Mini Web browser and Facebook.
In an industry that has panned BlackBerry for debuting the BlackBerry 10 in the United States with only 100,000 applications, Distimo reported that the top-revenue-generating app of March was the Japanese game Puzzle & Dragons.
"No application has ever been this popular and has gained so much revenue across the two largest platforms!" wrote van Agten.
Given the popularity of WhatsApp, it's not terribly surprising that Google is said to be in negotiations to buy the team behind it.
Digital Trends reported April 5 that the WhatsApp team has been "playing hardball" with Google, and pushing for a price near $1 billion.
It's rumored that Google plans to bring all of its messaging solutions under one umbrella to be called Google Babel—or Babble, depending on the report. A mobile messaging platform like WhatsApp could fill a hole in Google's current lineup and help it to compete against Facebook and smaller messaging apps.
"Communication services are the pillar to any connected device' knowing this; if Google wants to be taken seriously on mobile, it'll need a standout like Whatsapp under its wing, and it needs to work fast," wrote Digital Trends.