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No room for buggy apps in the corporate world

Rodney Byfield | June 2, 2014
Many mobile apps are simply not up to scratch, says Rodney Byfield.


Earlier this year, Apple announced its App Store had reached forty billion downloads, and more than $10 billion was spent on iOS apps in 2013. Three billion apps were downloaded in December alone.

As I trawl through hundreds of apps and pick interesting ones to view I see comments like "hopeless", "waste of money", "clunky and crashes when you do..." and "I want my money back."

You don't have to search far to find these kinds of comments. So much so you have to wonder whether mainstream app development is going the way of the Nigerian email scam. Promise anything for the chance to make a buck.

App development is driven by a low cost per unit market and we need to understand this often means a lower quality product upon release.

Then there is the question of whether mobile will become a true corporate computing solution and replace the PC. If that is going to happen, app development needs to have a completely different lifecycle than the one that currently exists.

I have done some research on well-positioned apps versus newer apps (my research was by no means empirical). What I noticed is that there seems to be a reduction in feedback and comments from people.

It is almost like people are getting so bored with buggy apps that they can't even be bothered to comment anymore. Early versions of older apps seem to have a lot more feedback than those released recently.

Those people who did leave comments seemed to be significantly more aggressive or passive aggressive saying things like "Don't bother buying this" or "This version is just as hopeless as the last."

In my opinion, a large percentage of developers have been fishing for some time. They know that with so many fish in the water they are bound to catch a percentage regardless of how good the app is.

They can then use this fishing money to turn out other apps or create a better version, re-capitalising from their existing financial momentum with little benefit to the customer.

Either way, they are using the customer as the test bed so you pay the price twice; once for the app and once for the frustration.

If this continues, you don't have to be a genius to realise that app fatigue will set in, after which those developers that survive will be the ones who know what the customer wants and involve the customer in the process.

Over the last two years, we have seen a mobile warrior, Blackberry sell its intellectual property even though one of its loyal customers was US president Barack Obama.


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