3 years ago

The market for Welsh language mobile applications - a developers’ perspective

Daniel Cunliffe

Publication date: Available online 12 November 2018

Source: Telematics and Informatics

Author(s): Daniel Cunliffe

Abstract

The introduction of the smartphone and mobile applications (apps) has significantly enhanced the opportunities for minority language provision on mobile phones. Despite their potential role in supporting and revitalising minority languages, minority language app markets remain practically unstudied.

Minority language app markets face obvious challenges due to their small absolute size (in terms of consumers, developers and apps) and their small relative size compared to the majority language app market. This paper examines the Apple (UK) App Store market for a specific minority language, Cymraeg (the Welsh language), providing a deeper understanding of the market from a developer’s perspective.

Data gathering was conducted using two methods; a census of apps and structured interviews. The census identified 439 Welsh language apps which were analysed to identify emergent characteristics and potentially significant factors in the market, which informed the subsequent interviews. Interviews were conducted with three highly active app development companies, representing about 2% of the developers and 9% of the apps identified in the census. An interview was also conducted with the Welsh Language Unit of the Welsh Government.

This paper weaves together the observations and data from the census with the qualitative responses from the interviews, to present a rich picture of the Welsh language app market in the Apple (UK) App Store. The paper concludes by suggesting ways in which the Welsh language app market could potentially be made more vital and sustainable.

While this paper focusses on the Welsh language app market, it provides a deeper understanding of minority language app markets more generally.

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