Have Apps Overstayed Their Welcome?

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Smartphone apps are the probably best thing to have happened to this generation after The Nintendo Switch. Before Smartphone Apps conquered the world, ‘Mobile Software’  looked grotesque, had almost zero intuitiveness and ease of use of use similar to that of trying to outswim Michael Phelps with hands tied behind the back. But everything changed when Apple Nation Attacked.

App development was heavily incentivized. iPhone started offering storage of 8 gigantic Gigabytes which was unheard of back them. Then the frenzy began. All sorts of Talking Toms, News Aggregators and Fake Beer Apps started infesting the App Store and Market (Yes, that was what Google Play Store) was called back then. Everyone wanted and made an app. Everything was well and good.

Then something changed. The apps became too arrogant. The started ignoring the hardware and the platform standards. Apple managed to keep this at bay to some extent with stringent (and often irritatingly difficult) compliance standards. But they couldn’t do much when quintessential apps like Facebook itself took 1 GB+ memory including the cache in a humble 16GB iPhone (of which barely 12 GB is usable). Droids faced a different war altogether. With no uniform platform to play around with, the same app performed differently in different devices. Sleepless nights ensued among app developers to port the same app across a Gazillion different permutations and combinations of hardware.

Things are getting worse. There has been a gradual shift towards browser based web apps and chatbots. WeChat has been significantly killing it big in China with app integrations. Why waste a gig of data installing Uber, Lyft, Ola and BlaBla Cabs when the same functionality from the same service provider can be accessed through your browser or a Chatbot? True, there always will be some apps which are so tightly integrated with the daily usage that no Chatbot will be able to replace them. But what about the smaller players? App Discovery has fallen. So has the average lifecycle of an app in a Smartphone. The development costs have risen. The noise and clutter of too many apps is doing no good for the ecosystem. Probably they are going in the same direction that browser toolbars went in the last decade.

We are staring at a number inevitable realities now when it comes to apps –

Apps are a pain in the ‘A’ to develop.

Fine. You have a slick blog. Now you want to make an app out of it. What do you have to do? Hire a couple of developers, some testers, a production engineer and maybe even then it won’t be enough. Android app developers probably won’t have the expertise for iOS apps. Even the number of times the same has to be ported for multiple base devices in the Android platform is excruciatingly tiring.

Apps are incredibly expensive to develop

According to a survey of 96 mobile app developers on TechCrunch, it was found that the average cost to develop an app was $6,453. Another article reports that developing a “small app” can cost $3000 – $8000. More complex apps can cost anywhere from $50,000 to a staggering $150,000!
Apps take too much space.

In this unending game of one-upmanship among Android handset manufacturers, the standard hardware specifications are growing at blinding speeds. In order to keep up with the hardware, apps are increasingly turning into bloatware without adding much value. Increased dependence on native storage space in the era of cloud storage being the standard is quite ironic and counterproductive to be honest.

Uninstall rate is increasing rapidly

Around 25% of apps are uninstalled after a single use. Can’t really blame the user though. The end user has to constantly ration his/her limited storage space across various apps with need and priority. The user doesn’t want 5 different apps to keep track of 5 different sports. Convergence is the game. Everyone needs all their information properly encapsulated inside a single app.

Apps need to be updated every now and then

As if spending a gargantuan amount of time, money and effort isn’t enough, Google throws around a minor OS version update every now and then. Again, a lot has to be invested to make sure the app is ‘desirable enough’ for the new ecosystem. So, the one-time investment while making an app is just a myth.

App discovery is going sadder and sadder

Well, around hundreds of new apps are cropping up in the App Store and Play Store every single day. App discovery is now a thing of the past. Either a savage Product Hunt strategy or a big fat advertising budget is required to stand out of the clutter. Either of which, let’s say a small Turkish Food joint won’t be able to leverage on if they make an app. Apps are in the big boys’ territory now.

Apps have lost their Novelty factor.

People want usability now. No flashy splash screens. Gone are the days of snazz and jazz. Flashy gimmicks, animations, splash screen are seen as a distraction now. People want simplicity. Very reminiscent of the shift of focus from Flash based websites to minimal design trends and from Skeuomorphism to material design.

AppBrowzer
Here’s where App 2.0s come into the picture. Imagine not having to download the apps of Time, Washington Post, Ted, Business Insider, CNET, etc. Just one app can access them all. In the words of JRR Tolkien, One App to rule them all, One App to find them, One App to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. App 2.0s are essentially browsable apps, which run inside a standardized platform. It’s a boon for business owners and end users alike. Let’s have a look at how App 2.0 from AppBrowzer helps us all.
As, there is no installation to being with, the problem of the uninstall rate is dead. The only installation that the end user ever needs to do, is the AppBrowzer installation. The business owners don’t have to worry about the Cost per Installs, the uninstall rates, the app marketing budget or anything at all. All the challenges are now just simplified and centralized to AppBrowzer.

  • Now the user no longer has to prioritize the limited storage space in his/her smartphone. A nifty 10 MB App Browser can hold GIGs of apps. Goes without saying, this also dramatically improves the App 2.0 discovery rate. Now the App Discovery algorithms become native to the AppBrowzer engine and is independent to the marketing budgets of individual App 2.0s.
  • Now there is no need to continuously update apps after every OS update or patch. App 2.0 are fully backward compatible. Rather, compatibility itself becomes an outdated concept as that entire headache is taken over by the AppBrowzer engine itself. The App 2.0 looks and performs the same across all devices and all firmware versions across all generations.
  • No need to port the App 2.0 for multiple devices now. The only time and effort that needs to be put in is a good, focused 10 minutes of your time to create the App 2.0 for the AppBrowzer engine. Now it’s AppBrowzer’s job to make the engine compatible across all the devices, hardware, firmware and screen sizes. So, hundreds of thousands of dollars of CRCs, porting and testing saved. Just like that!

AppBrowzer

App 2.0 is definitely a promising concept that works. For the time being AppBrowzer is only compatible with WordPress websites. Of course, it is being made compatible with other popular CMSs as I write it. But well, the best thing about it is that AppBrowzer is completely free to use. If you want to learn more about AppBrowzer or how to create an App 2.0 for your WordPress based website head over to www.AppBrowzer.com and get started in just 10 minutes! That’s a great deal, I would say.

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