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App-athy

Posted by Dan Roche on July 31st, 2012 at 12:15 pm

According to ABI Research, smartphone owners around the world will download about 36 billion mobile apps in 2012. That’s an average of almost 37 native app installs per user! Even with this tremendous usage, ABI estimates that app download numbers will decrease over the coming years.

Why the decrease? The staggering numbers listed above may be to blame. Smartphone users are overwhelmed by the variety of mobile apps available. What app is best? Should I download the free app or spring for the paid app? I should probably download an app to complete x, y and z, right?

While the iTunes App Store isn’t likely to disappear any time soon, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to sift through the 500,000 apps in the App Store, let alone other app sites. If a business “category” is already heavily populated, you might not even find an app that would be best suited for your needs.

After all of this back-and-forth, you have probably downloaded more apps than you can use which are now taking up precious memory on your phone.

The app clutter becomes overwhelming resulting in what I like to call “app-athy.”

How should you avoid this app overload? Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Why am I getting this app? If it will result in time saved, increased productivity or entertainment, hit the install button. If you’re having difficulty stating the benefits, it probably won’t make your life any easier or more fun, and you can probably operate without this app.
  • When will I use this app? If you can’t list three situations or features of the app that you will use on a regular basis, skip the download. A flashlight or level app may be handy, but if you aren’t stranded in dark rooms, camping or involved with home improvement projects often, these apps are just taking up space.
  • Do you use the Web version of the app on your computer? If you already use the features and functionality of this application in a browser format, you may be more likely to use the app. This is probably why Facebook, YouTube, Android Market, Google Search and Gmail are the top five mobile apps according to a May 2012 Nielsen study.
  • Is the website better than the app? Many apps are more difficult to navigate and don’t provide all the bells and whistles of the brand’s website. Since mobile apps provide the same content as the website, why bother with the app? Businesses need to make the app simpler and more efficient than the website. For example, an app used for directions should have GPS capabilities to determine your location instead of having to enter your address or zip code.

If you already have pages upon pages of apps and numerous folders filled to the brim on your smartphone, it may be time to reevaluate your app usage. Otherwise, you could always download apps like Greplin or Pixable to help you manage your current apps. An app to use an app.

Don’t be surprised if you have to go to ther-appy.

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