I’m going to confess something that’s likely to cost me Twitter followers, kill future career prospects and launch a mild Comment war:
And I can’t understand those who are, either. Well, I can align with the casual user. The few utilitarians out there. Those discriminating sorts who reserve their precious device storage space for more valuable content. Like songs, photos and LOLcats.
But there’s a whole world out there just begging for more cute and clever applications it seems. And forget fart apps; enter cool apps into Google and you’re rewarded with 165,000,000 results, with mostly gas-free iPhone goodies bubbling up to the surface. That’s a LOT of interest.
The race to claim the biggest app repository is reaching mind-numbing numbers, with Apple’s trademark-protected App Store still possessing a commanding lead of over 400,000 little software blobs in its clutches (and has actually breached 500,000 including inactive apps). And if that doesn’t boggle your brain, rapidly-expanding Android is on track to beat Apple’s bragging rights by July or August of this year.
I’m usually happy with the basic pre-installed stuff and a few extras here and there. Load me up with maps, weather, geek utilities, some games and a full-blown web browser and I’m cool.
The last bit says it all. Forget local apps stealing precious finite device resources– I’ll take the internet, thank you, and everything on it. With relish.
That means high octane HTML5, naturally, and even proprietary technologies like Adobe’s Flash. Yes, I agree with most of the complaints but just think of the number of Flash games out there. No application store necessary. The internet is increasingly the way to go.
Which is why I rolled my eyes every time I heard someone complain that Nokia’s Maemo “didn’t have any/many apps”. So what. Maemo had a killer Mozilla-based browser. And are you really going to dig your way through 400,000+ listings in someone’s virtual store? There’s no search engine good enough, nor time in the world. Assuming you were so curious, the only way you would ever see what’s on the bottom is by inverting the listing. But then, rank hacking notwithstanding, the more useful blobs bob to the top anyway. So most shoppers will sift through the more obvious offerings and anything floating just below the cream line can only dream of daylight.
Interestingly, Microsoft’s mobile app count is growing faster than device adoption, leading to a software top-heavy situation. That will in turn dilute their value unless and until phone sales take off. For a saturated market of products heading toward free, that’s not good.
Web apps make sense in many ways. They tend to be cheaper to develop, cover more platforms, and are easier to maintain. Monetization, though, can be more of a challenge. But if you’re reaching more people, then you’re increasing the chance of alternatives like voluntary donations… so turning a profit with mobile web sites can be simply a matter of the model. There’s even room for subscription solutions as long as the price is below the typical user’s pain threshold.
Multi-platform app stores like AppCentral, Appia and Intel’s AppUp are a good compromise. Even Amazon says it intends to go that way with its service. What this could mean to single-platform servicers like Apple remains to be seen. Would the company so eager to protect the term “App Store” (failed) go so far as to prevent others from selling software for its products?