There is an app for that.
They are everywhere now. Their popularity has skyrocketed since the inception of the original iPhone. Apple attempted to take over the phone world, and with their iTunes store, they are taking over the application world as well. Millions of dollars are now spent every year across the world, on apps. It’s not just iPhone users now, as Android has their Market, BlackBerry has App World, and Windows Mobile has Windows Marketplace. Everyone wants a piece of the game.
There are claims that apps will help with productivity, by simplifying your life. Your grocery list? Use an app. Need to track your mileage for your next business trip? Use an app. Need to find out what time the movie starts? Use an app. Need to check the score of the game? Use an app. With all of these apps, how simple is it really? How much time do you really save? Let’s find out.
Three weeks ago, I started downloading apps for my BlackBerry Bold 9700 to see if I could make my life “simple.” I have apps for my grocery list, receipt tracker, weather, internet radio, mobile photo uploads, syncing….the list goes on. Some of the apps were free, and some were paid. I tried to find a happy medium to cover the spectrum of usage. I wanted to see how productive I would be.
It wasn’t easy at first. I had to remember to actually use them instead of using my previous routine. I would save receipts and enter them into our banking program on the computer. I didn’t need to do that anymore, since I could just enter them into my phone, and toss the physical receipt. It took me a few days to adjust, and I got into the routine of doing it. I found that it really didn’t save me much time, and was almost more of a hassle than a time saver. The grocery list application was a little better, as you didn’t need to constantly add things to it. Once your main list was in your phone, you could simply check things off, and you would just reset the application when you were done. I found that I was nose deep in my phone though, as I would have it out since the grocery list was on it, and I would end up doing more than just the grocery list. The disconnection from the real world wasn’t that great. It was just another excuse to use my phone, and my wife noticed it. Being preoccupied with your phone while walking through a grocery store often leads to near misses with the cart. It did however, make grocery shopping a little easier since I didn’t need to remember a pen and paper.
I did whatever I could do to use an app. Going to the store? I got directions from Google Maps. Looking for a local restaurant? I used Poynt. Headed out to run errands? I checked the weather using BerryWeather. If it could be done with an app, I tried it. It was an adventure for me instead of the mundane routine.
I am still not sure that it made my life simple. It was a lot of trial and error. This app doesn’t do this, so I can’t use it. This app does this, but costs how much? I can’t spend that much money on an app. Time to search for a replacement. Oh no, there are apps available outside of App World? Well, I better investigate those as well. I spent more than a few hours on the computer, searching for what would be the latest and greatest app to help make my life simple. Some really did make my life a little better. Google Sync, BerryWeather, and a few others saved me on a few occasions, and I was very grateful.
How did the application market become so huge? You already know the answer to this. That thin touchscreen phone with the Apple logo on it that pretty much does it all. They started the craze, and it will only grow larger as the demand steadily increases. People are now buying smartphones not because they are smartphones, but because of how many apps are available. I am not sure that it is the right reason to buy one, but people are converting over in droves. I do hope that they find apps that will make their life easier.