Do we really need an app for ALL that?

Last month, I published my hands-on with MobiNigeria app for Symbian. In response to that article, one of our regulars here made a comment that didn’t go down well with too many people, yet he had a point that I will attempt to blow up in this article.

Do we really need an app for ALL that? 1

I find that regardless of how good the available apps for Facebook, WordPress and Twitter are, after the initial euphoria of installing it, I almost never go back to using them. Why? Well, I have a browser for those. One application on my smartphone – the web browser – takes care of the functionality that all three of those apps provide.

Why would I want to launch each one separately and switch around to update my blog, Twitter feed and Facebook wall like that?

The MobiNigeria application for Symbian, like every other news site application (e.g. AP, Mobile Industry Review, National Geographic, etc) simply reproduces what is already on the website itself. I am subscribed to lots of news sites. I find that one single application – the RSS Feed Reader – is a more efficient way of receiving news updates from all.

It is certainly painful to have to launch an app for each of those sites just to keep up-to-date with news and reviews.

The truth is that for people who do more than the average on the internet, having an app for each service would be madness. Incidentally, many mobile appstores are full of such apps – including the Apple, Ovi (Nokia), and Android stores.

These days, we are quick to say, “There’s an app for that“. Still, we might find that there are not too many things that we really need an app for. As a rule, many internet-based services may not really need a dedicated application.

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I have always been of the position that the mobile web (and hence the mobile web browser) is the solution to the problem of multiple apps for most internet-based mobile activities. Time will tell.

Still, we must leave room for those who are not into multiple online activities, but have only one or two activities that they are committed to online, say perhaps just updating their WordPress blog or Facebook pages and nothing more. These may prefer to use an application for doing that. They may be in the minority, but since when did it become politically correct to discriminate against minorities? 😀

At the end of thee day, perhaps the freedom of choice of what to use, and where and when to use it is what makes mobile more fun!

Mister Mobility

I started blogging about mobile in 2004 as a fun way to share my passion for gadgets and mobile services. My other interests include digital media, speaking and teaching, photography, travelling, and dancing.

7 thoughts on “Do we really need an app for ALL that?

  • August 5, 2010 at 8:14 am
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    “but since when did it become politically correct to discriminate against minorities?”

    ……on a light mood

    vox populi, vox Dei.
    the majority carries the day.
    there is safety in numbers.
    if you can not beat them, join them.

    ….seriously

    if there are any technical limitations preventing a mobile application from being implemented as a web application (weblication), then that app is truly needed.

    with the anticipated radical drop in cost of accessing the web (the submarine cables), it may not be out of place to check out if there is a “WEBapp for that !” before checking if there is an “app for that !”

    i have many applications on my mobile. but these usually perform functions that a weblication will probably not be able to handle. things like low-level OS functions

    adopting this strategy would ensure you only install essential applications on your phone. the more applications you have installed on ANY device, the more unstable it is / likely to be. in connection with that, see http://www.artwales.biz/?p=527

    conclusively, while the proponents of the various AppStores will vehemently disagree, populating a store with mobile apps that have corresponding webplicbtions is like spitting in a thunderstorm! serves very well little useful purpose!

    but then, let the MINORITY carry the day. after all, the US presidency is an example….

  • August 5, 2010 at 8:52 am
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    my take on this is that because those apps are bandwidth-hungry, most users usually stop using them after a few time of usage. This is true for people that have data caps on their internet subscrition plans. Note also that on almost all apps, disabling images and flash are not possible.

  • August 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm
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    Apps also has to do with aesthetics too. Thompsons Reuter, Bloomberg, dictionary apps looks much better than their mobile sites on my blackberry. i think this is especially important for reading stuffs on a small screen.

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  • August 6, 2010 at 11:40 am
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    To start with most of my apps are for stuffs that are not directly associated with the internet e.g Document Editor,pdf,Zip,Rar,Picture&Video editors and players. I rarely use Apps for Social networking sites and for reading news unless I want to receive live updates or live blogging,and recently Goggle Reader has been making my RRS Reader redundant.

    For social networking,I like Apps that manufacturers integrate fully into the entire operating system.Because if my phone has an excellent browser why will i want an App for such things again.

    But no matter what, some people just want an App for this and that.

  • August 6, 2010 at 11:48 am
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    Update to my Comment.

    The main issue I have with social networking Apps that are incorporated with the phones UI is that they zap a lot of Data and you have to be on a good data plan to be able to maintain them.

    Where data is not an issue i love social Apps that integrate fully into the entire UI.

  • August 7, 2010 at 7:58 pm
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    A good reason to use those apps is that they transfer only the important data over the net. In a web page everything has to be transmitted from the page layout to easthetics and the data feed. But using such apps, the layout is already on your phone/system. Only the important data will be transmitted over the net. So theoretically they are suppose to be more bandwidth efficient. Another reason is that the app may provide some caching facility that let’s view past data even when disconnected. In reality we are just seeing a gradual fusion between web based applications, desktop and mobile applications.

    Coincidentally I was thinking about those things recently here and here

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