There’s an app for that…but does there need to be?

12/28/10

I’m intrigued by a quote in Mashable’s post, “Mobile App Market to Grow to $35 Billion by 2014 [REPORT]“:

“Mobile app developers will ‘appify’ just about every interaction you can think of in your physical and digital worlds,” says Scott Ellison, IDC mobile and wireless research vice president.

We should be so lucky, right? Those of us with smartphones, that is. If “There’s an app for that” isn’t the most overused phrase in recent memory, I don’t know what is, but here’s the deal: it’s true.

Case study #1: I was lamenting having to constantly look to my iPhone and back to the road while using the Maps default app. Enter skobbler, with turn-by-turn voice navigation. Highway 280 drivers thank you.

Case study #2: I have a friend who frequents San Francisco coffee shops, building up a cache of customer loyalty cards in his wake. While he treasures them (especially yours, @ritualcoffee), I personally never have the one I need when I need it. With Punchd, problm solvd.

Case study #3: Business cards, what a pain, right? Now, though, a cursory search on iTunes reveals a plethora of options. WorldCard Mobile, despite its $5.99 price tag, is well-reviewed. Scan and save, it’s as easy as that, although I’d like to see some fancier sharing features.

These three are all fantastic app ideas, in that they solve specific dilemmas. I do worry though. For every app that fills a much-needed void, there’s also another photo-sharing app, to pick on just one trend of 2010. The Mashable article ends on a cautionary note: “Still, there are some — RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie, for instance — who believe that the “appification” of the web is a fad that is destined to flatline.” While I don’t believe apps are a fad, they will flatline, if developers and publishers blindly follow trends to get in on the growing mobile app market. After all, who wouldn’t want a piece of a $35 billion pie? It’s not that simple, however. For every success story, there are many more struggling apps. What distinguishes one from the other? It’s not always quality. Sometimes luck factors in, sometimes incredible marketing savvy. Whatever your method, there’s one thing you cannot find yourself without: a plan.

Angelica

Social Media Director — Apsalar, Inc.

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