Posts Tagged ‘App Store’

Apps, Apps Everywhere and Not A Link to Click

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

The title of this post was inspired by the Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

“Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.”

– Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I have spent quite a bit of time these last couple of weeks looking for apps to download. I have been looking both in Apple’s App Store and the Android Market. While one is supposed to believe that there are way more apps, and better ones at that on Apple’s side than on Android, I have not found that to be the case. Both marketplaces feature a great number of worthwhile apps. Apple does get more attention from some of the larger corporations, but other than that, I have not seen the huge disconnect that everyone is talking about, at least not to the proportion described.

The primary fault in the Android Market is the difficulty in finding worthy apps. It is not that they aren’t there, it is just that you have to wade through so many mediocre apps to find the diamonds in the rough. If the Android Market could be organized like the Apple App Store, it would gain popularity, and usage, in a major way.

There are ways to find a decent Android app outside of the Market. AppBrain is a popular place for finding apps. It doesn’t host the apps, but helps you find the good ones and helps you download them from the Android Market. You can download AppBrain on your Android device to sync your apps.

Another up-and-comer in the app-finding game is Sony Ericsson’s Mash-App. At Mash-App you can categorize your favorite apps and recommend them to the Android community. I have used this site a few times and have been pretty happy with it.

Apple has had quite the head start in the app business. It also keeps a tighter rein on its apps. This is, among other things, one of the reasons that Apple has been so successful with its App Store. By strictly controlling all the ins and outs, and presenting them in an easy-to-find way, people are convinced that Apple really has the best apps hands-down. It is also a likely factor in the popularity of iPhone apps among larger firms.

Apple certainly has a lot of great apps. Some of the apps clearly took a lot of work and the end result is noticeable. There are many great apps on Android too. Some of the apps I have found for Android are extremely useful to me. That being said, why is it that I have such a hard time finding decent apps? This is where my title comes back into play. Apps are pouring in by the thousands, yet there is not an adequate filter to sort out the wheat from the chaff. As I look for apps on the iPad, I see that most of the best games and apps are for the iPhone, so I am stuck with an iPhone sized rectangle on a huge background. As I look for apps on the Android Market, I have to scroll, and scroll, and scroll some more to find something of interest. It is hard to search for something if you don’t quite know what you are looking for.

What is the solution to this problem? Better organization. It would be really useful if there was a better way to find the apps you want amid all the ones you don’t. There have certainly been valiant attempts at this, on both sides. It just needs to improve. The Google Chrome Web Store may be the answer to some of these problems, if it is done correctly. Considering Google’s strength in the Search arena, this shouldn’t be too difficult to achieve. Perhaps if Google were to raise the bar, the Android Market and the Apple App Store would follow suit. We can only hope.

What is your favorite method of finding good apps? Let me know in the comments.