A few days ago, we brought you a report on the most popular mobile apps of 2011, in terms of downloads. (Quick version: You all really love Angry Birds). Now, new research from mobile analytics firm Mobilewalla lays out a different app landscape: The apps with the highest user ratings across iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone.
Before we reveal the list, let's talk methodology: Mobilewalla didn't simply look at the scores users gave to the apps in the Android Market, or the App Store, etc.; rather, it devised its own Mobilewalla score. Sarah Perez of Techcrunch defines it nicely and succinctly:
Instead of looking at raw user ratings, this scoring system is an algorithm that analyzes a variety of factors in addition to ratings, including an app’s position within its own category, volume, social media sentiment and more.
From there, each app is given a Mobilewalla rating from 0 to 100. Unlike in golf, it's better to have a higher score.
And now, here are the top-rated apps on each mobile OS for 2011. We've split them up by OS, and by paid vs. free, for ease of reading. We've also included some brief descriptions for the apps whose titles don't immediately make their purposes clear:
1. Pixlr-o-matic: 97.5 out of 100.
"Add retro effects to your photos in a snap!"
2. Super Stickman Golf: 97.5 out of 100
"Swing your way through over 280 unique holes. Use all your special abilities to help you par the courses including sticky balls, ice balls, air brakes, and nitro balls!"
3. Smurfs' Village: 97 out of 100
"It's up to you to build a new village for the Smurfs to call home."
4. Crime Story: 96.4 out of 100
"Crime Story is a game where you can narrate your own gangsta story. Your stairway up to the mafia boss position starts with searching of your kidnapped brother."
5. Marvel Comics: 96.3 out of 100
"Download hundreds of comic books featuring your favorite characters -— including Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine and more -- on your mobile device or tablet with the touch of a button."
1. MADDEN NFL 12, 93.6 out of 100
"BOOM! Feel the excitement of NFL Football, anytime, anywhere with Madden NFL 12 for Android. With hard hitting action and beefed up rosters, get the ultimate football experience – now fully optimized for Android Tablets!"
2. Dragon, Fly! Full, 92.9 out of 100
"Slide and fly over the beautiful hills in this fast paced one touch arcade game."
3. Earth And Legend, 92.3 out of 100
"The most advanced full-scaled multiplayer 3D RPG for Android has arrived in HD! The time has come to call for a hero. Join the battle in this epic RPG adventure delivered in stunning 3D."
4. Great Little War Game, 92.18 out of 100
"Take command of your army and battle the foe on land, sea and air but be sure to make wise decisions as you go. You want to deploy your soldiers to take full advantage of the higher terrain, natural choke points, ambush spots and defensive walls."
5. SHADOWGUN, 91.8 out of 100
"Using state-of-the-art weaponry, ships, and the assistance of S.A.R.A.—Slade’s personal android assistant—SHADOWGUN combines intense tactical combat with 3rd person action."
1. MLB.com At Bat Lite, 96 out of 100
News, scores and coverage of Major League Baseball.
2. My Horse: 95.3 out of 100
"Live the dream of owning and looking after a realistic horse, and share the experience with your friends!"
3. Family Feud® & Friends: 93.5 out of 100
The popular TV game show on iOS.
4. Funny Videos & Pics by Break.com: 92.8 out of 100
5. MetalStorm: Wingman: 92.3 out of 100
"Dominate the skies and master the world’s most advanced combat aircraft as you experience the best looking, most action packed jet fighting game for iOS."
1. Angry Birds Rio: 93.9 out of 100
2. Tiny Wings: 92.9 out of 100
"You have always dreamed of flying - but your wings are tiny. Luckily the world is full of beautiful hills. Use the hills as jumps - slide down, flap your wings and fly!"
4. Where’s My Water?: 91 out of 100
The popular puzzle game.
5. Lock My Photos – Password lock photos & picture data for peace of mind!: 89.7 out of 100
6. Bike Baron: 87.3 out of 100
Motorcycle racing game with user-made levels.
1. Memory Booster Pro: 95.1 out of 100
"Memory Booster Pro will recover the lost/used up memory from the device making your applications
run faster and smoother."
2. BlackBerry Protect: 95.1 out of 100
"BlackBerry® Protect is a free application designed to keep your information secure if your BlackBerry® smartphone goes missing."
3. Memory Booster: 95 out of 100
"Memory Booster will recover the lost/used up memory from the device making your applications run faster and smoother."
4. AppsLock – Password Protect Applications (Full Version): 94.7 out of 100
5. Slider Lock Free – slide to unlock your phone: 94.5 out of 100
1. Sea Storm Animated Theme 2.0: 94.7 out of 100
2. Love Is Love – Great Offer of Valentine’s Day: 92 out of 100
Valentine's Day-themed live wallpaper.
3. Playboy’s Animated Luck O’ The Irish: 90.4 out of 100
"Enjoy 4 different St. Patty's inspired Irish Playboy wallpapers along with custom color icons and an ANIMATED LOCK SCREEN!"
4. Underwater HD Animated Theme: 90.1 out of 100
5. Juicy Girl Theme – On Sale!: 89.5 out of 100
WINDOWS PHONE (Free)
1. TuneIn Radio: 96.7 out of 100
FM and streaming radio stations.
2. Penguin: 96 out of 100
"With your help, this Penguin can and does fly through a colorful, fun landscape."
3. gMaps: 95.7 out of 100
Google Maps for Windows Phone.
4. PhotoFunia: 95.7 out of 100
Free photo editing tool.
WINDOWS PHONE (Paid)
1. Phone 8: 92.2 out of 100
Themes for the Windows Phone homescreen.
2. Weather Live: 91.7 out of 100
Robust weather app.
3. Fuse: 89 out of 100
Newsreader app for WP.
4. iFun: 89 out of 100
Transforms the Windows Phone look into the look of the iPhone, from homescreen to utilities to dialer.
5. SuperTube: 88.4 out of 100
"Enables you to play and download YouTube videos in HQ and HD by 3G or WiFi."
Boy, BlackBerry owners really like their animated wallpapers and themes, huh? A few other observations:
- Gamers on three of the operating systems rated games that could be placed in the "send an animal flying using slopes and hills" category -- Penguin on Windows Phone, Tiny Wings on iOS and Dragon Fly on Android all have the same basic game play.
- Photo editing and maintenance also won big across OS's -- Pixlr-o-matic for Android, PhotoFunia for Windows Phone, and Lock My Photos on iOS
- BlackBerry users hate fun. This was the only OS without a game in the top apps, either paid or free.
- iPhone envy? BlackBerry's "Slide to Unlock" app mimics the unlocking mechanism that Apple owns the patent for, while Windows Phone's iFun straight up replicates the iPhone's interface. Android's Pixlr-o-Matic is a take on iOS's popular Instagram photo-filtering app.
- Companies don't always slum it when translating popular apps to mobile devices: Family Feud, Madden NFL '12, MLB.com At Bat, and Smurfs' Village all scored highly.
The Mobilewalla report isn't available online, but you can browse around the analytics firm's website here.
To view a more cut-and-dry list of users' favorite apps this year, check out the most-downloaded free iPhone apps from Apple's App Store, as well as Android users' favorites.