1,00,000 apps later: Our tuppence of wisdom to App Store wannabes

5 Nov

App Store

The Apple App Store completed 1,00,000
apps recently – a staggering feat, if you consider that it is not
even two years old. With just about every cellphone manufacturer and
platform developer looking at building app reservoirs for its users,
we thought that the moment was opportune for us to come out with a
few pointers for them. These are not high-tech (we are not getting
into approval systems and coding) words of wisdom, but simple points
that we think will make a difference to mobile app store users. And
heck, at the end of the day, all the apps in the world will not save
your app store if there ain’t users lining up to download them.

  1. Make your apps work across as many devices as possible. Having a mishmash of apps that work on some devices and not on others can confuse – and worse, irritate – users
  2. Get all major apps and game titles on your store. As Nintendo found out, innovation ain’t no good if you do not have the software titles to back it up. Heck, developers will be queuing up to make apps for your store if you meet point 1, as it makes app development so much easier.
  3. Get more apps. One of the biggest attractions of the App Store is that one keeps getting new apps for it. They may not all be relevant, but they do ensure more visits. A lsenior executive from one of Apple’s rivals remarked to us that it was the quality, rather than quantity, of apps that mattered. He spoke sooth, but ask a customer to choose between an app store that offers a few hundred apps and one that offers a hundred thousand, and we can bet our lives that we know where he or she will go!
  4. Make payment simple for consumers. One of the App Store’s charms is that one just has to click on a button and enter a password to get downloading.
  5. Do not tie up your market with a desktop software – a person should be able to download apps directly on the phone all the time. Much though we adore the App Store, we are just plain terrified of iTunes and its eccentricities. Strike one for the Android Market!
  6. Have free and extremely usable versions of all paid apps – “lite” versions, so to speak. We did not really like Nokia’s “play it for some time and then pay for it” approach with N-Gage game demos, even though it allowed users to play full-fledged games rather than stripped down demo versions. Users are more relaxed with stuff they know will keep working, even if it is not full featured. And if they get used to it, a purchase of the full app is pretty much on the cards.
  7. The store should be easy to browse. No, we are not talking in terms of categories and interface but simple loading time. One of the things we love about the Android Market on our HTC Hero is that it loads so incredibly fast even on our ‘umble EDGE connection– the App Store takes noticeably longer.
  8. Add videos of how the app works, rather than just screenshots. The video might take a bit longer to download but heck it tells us a lot more than a bunch o’ screens.
  9. Why so serious? Not all apps have to deadly relevant. Even silly apps have their takers. We wish we had a penny for every time we have switched on the light saber app on our iPhones and gone at each other. People laughed at us, but we just had a blast. 

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