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Tired of apps? There’s an app for that!

“The mobile browser is dead. Long live the app!” touts Forbes in a recent article. 86% of time is spent in an app instead of a browser.  What went wrong? Well, nothing really, this is just what was coming for a long time (like I’ve been saying for years as well).  While the mobile browser is perfectly suited for consuming information, there are a number of factors driving app usage:

  • Majority of app usage is gaming. Mobile browser gaming kind of sucks (do you even remember the name of one?)
  • Contrary to popular belief, designing a well functioning HTML5 with lots of navigation bells and whistles is not cheaper than making an app (search for the Financial Times case study on this site)
  • HTML5 is just not there, and even if it gets “there” it will always(!) play catch-up to native apps who can much quicker and much more efficient take advantage of new device features

Source: Flurry

And the “appsplosion” is happening faster, as even distinct services create multiple apps to separate user activities or have better performance in their apps.  Or the real reason is possibly just to take up space on your device to push others out.  Of course as the number of available apps go up, so does the number of sub-par apps, and soon we find ourselves in need of something that cleans up what we don’t use, like the app Aviate.  Google and Apple are not doing anyone any favors either, with overloaded stores making it near impossible for users to find good apps, and the top 25 dominating everything as users are time poor and can’t be bothered searching.

Rodney Byfield in an article entitled “Customer integration in the App world” puts it well though:

There is a real need to harness customer input while leveraging the selection process in App development, leading to the thought that greater customer input leads to more acute selection, with the intention of creating a customer-centric product.

This is not a novel concept, in fact it is something that has been driving successful businesses for years. Except now it needs to get done in 5 square inches or less, and that is a formidable challenge. Furthermore I have seen little evidence of leveraging users in the app selection process, a technique we used in MoConDi back in the days when apps were referred to a midlets and app stores were wap sites.  I strongly believe the app fatigue that has already set in will open up formidable opportunities for those who crack the code for user involvement in app development and discovery – and the beauty is I doubt they will have to be constrained by what Apple and Google tells them to do…

Posted in The Business of Mobile.

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