as a consumer go mobile “App Economy heats up”

Sunday, February 19th 2012. | Internet News

bildeAntioch resident Jeff Lee represents Middle Tennessee’s newest generation of entrepreneurs.

After quitting a technology job in Ohio, the 35-year-old Lee moved to the Nashville area with an idea for an iPhone app, which he hopes to spin into a full-fledged company.

Lee’s project is SevenLunches, an app through which local restaurants can send daily lunch specials to customers, harnessing the iPhone’s GPS software to let nearby users know what noontime dishes local eateries are serving.

“It’s a self-serve broadcast tool for restaurants,” said Lee, who says he is in talks with Silicon Valley investors about SevenLunches. “Google ad words serves as the standard for self-serve online advertising, this could serve as the standard for physical locations to get the word out.”

According to a recent study by the trade group TechNet, nearly half a million jobs have been created in the so-called app economy since 2007, the year the iPhone came out.

Although no cities in Tennessee were named in the report as particular hotspots, local technology professionals have noticed an ever-growing community of app entrepreneurs in Middle Tennessee who set up local creative networks which, by some estimates, have already produced thousands of smartphone apps for a worldwide audience.

Two percent of all app activity on iPhones and Androids occurs in Tennessee, according to one industry measurement.

That might not seem like a striking amount, but it’s a higher share of activity than Washington, Oregon and Massachusetts, according to San Francisco-based Flurry, which tracks 90 percent of all new iPhone and Android app activity.

It ranked Tennessee the 17th highest app user in the nation, indicating that usage is about even with population size here.

Many local developers are betting that their smartphone ideas — is there an app for that? — will be cool enough to grab droves of users, or at least spark enough activity to support a comfortable business career.

Indeed, as the popularity of mobile computing and social network sites hits its stride, the path for the app economy opens wider in Middle Tennessee.

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