Study Says Nearly 15% of Mobile Apps Launched Offline

BOSTON — Nearly 15 percent of all app launches happen offline, suggesting that wireless connectivity needs to improve and that developers should build in more offline uses.

According to mobile analytics firm Localytics, although many apps work fine offline, many are just shortcuts to online content and they’re almost useless when a user’s out of range of their WiFi networks.

A report on Gigaom said that Localytics — which analyzes data for app publishers on iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 — used its own product to come up with the data on offline use, based on type of connection and the time difference between when an app was opened and when the data was uploaded.

The problem of being out of range also begs for a better “time-shifting” transition between offline and online experiences.

Gigaom said that Google Maps for Android is an example of an app that has integrated more content for offline use.

“The app, updated in December is able to pull up a full and pretty detailed map even though it’s out of wireless range. I’m not sure if all developers can go to those lengths but it’s great that Google Maps offers some kind of service while offline instead of throwing up a warning notification,” Gigaom said.

It was suggested that app data — or at least some if depending on size — be cached when out of range so when it’s in WiFi range the app is automatically updated.

Developers should also offer some evergreen information or light functionality while reminding people they are offline in order to keep them engaged.