June 2015: Windows Mobile and BlackBerry Apps

In this report, we take an in-depth look at the mobile landscape beyond iOS and Android, to see how widely supported and useful these devices actually are within the financial services industry.

Among the financial services firms we track, iPhone and Android apps are essentially universal. By comparison, Windows Phone and BlackBerry lag far behind. Of the 24 firms in the Mobile Monitor coverage group, just eight (33%) offer a Windows Phone app, and only four (17%) support BlackBerry. These numbers do not seem likely to grow; in fact, the trend is clearly in the opposite direction. Eight Mobile Monitor firms have discontinued their BlackBerry apps since 2011. Windows Phone has seen more growth since then, but three firms have abandoned it as well.

Some Windows and BlackBerry apps serve as a shortcut to the optimized mobile site, or launch it in a simple app frame: two firms (8%) take this approach on Windows Phone, and three (13%) on BlackBerry.

Windows Phone offers a distinct design aesthetic, including horizontally-scrolling menus and navigation, boxy icon menus and expanding bottom menus. Adoption of these elements has been uneven, though. Five of seven firms with Windows apps (71%) use horizontally-scrolling sections, while the other two firms maintain a structure that is consistent with their other apps. The operating system enables some unique functional capabilities as well. Two firms employ live tiles that flip to replace the app icon with promotional content or news headlines, and two brokerages let users pin content to the start screen, typically quotes. One firm also enables a Tap + Share feature to send watch list data.

Despite the enhancements for Windows Phone, the apps reviewed in this report more frequently lack functionality offered on other platforms. In particular, there are discrepancies in transaction capabilities and brokerage research and trading. Alerts capabilities also generally lag behind other mobile platforms. The one example of an app exceeding the comparable mobile platform is a Windows Phone app that supports check deposits not available on the firm’s browser-based platform.