iPhone, youPhone, wePhone, apps not so much.

I remember when shareware started to take flight. I simply didn’t have a enough download bandwidth to get my hands on it all. I simply had to have it all. Oh, those were the day’s, like a teenager going through a ‘phase’. After a while I cut my hair short again and started to remove some of the shareware. Well, to be honest I needed the disk space, that 500 MB SCSI drive had cost me a small fortune.

I’m seeing the same thing all over again with iPhone applications. Shareware and ‘free’ iPhone apps serve the same purpose. Promote and conquerer. The thinking being that when users see the light they will pay for it. This is in some small measure true, but this only applies to a small number of applications. The nuggets of gold are amongst grit and gravel. That’s not to say that everybody else is wasting their time. Who these ‘unfortunates’ are is hard to define so everybody, including users, are clamouring over each other to get hold of the next best thing. Blog posts aplenty to exclaim that they’ve found a real nugget, usually followed by users commenting that what they’re holding is a nugget of something else.

So the recent news that most iPhone apps are collecting dust makes sense and is, and should be, totally expected. Slow news day I guess.

I personally have a few apps that where a waste of my time downloading. Others that were a good idea but so badly executed that they’re not fun or easy to use. In the bin they go. However, some remain barely used but I also refuse to remove them. Lightsaber being the most notable. It remains, in my mind, a place to keep that geeky, nerdy kid neatly under wraps with the promise that I might one day let him out to play. The other applications that hardly get used are ones replicating services that I use on my computer regularly. However, Facebook, and Linkedin have proven to be useful in face to face situations. “Do you know so and so?”, and I check my contacts to see if I really know this person and not just that I think that I do. Or just to check if someone still works were I think they work.
The only one I haven’t used but kept is iNap. Just because I haven’t used it doesn’t mean that I won’t. Despite having a car I still travel by public transport quite a bit. iNap is going to come in very handy one day, mark my words.

I can see many folks going a little nuts and installing stuff they don’t need or even want just because it’s free.
Marketeers often get a little ahead of themselves. If a product doesn’t offer much value to a user then any popularity gained early on will evaporate. Most of the shareware that I’ve bought in the past is software I still have and use. I don’t see that being any different for the iPhone.

Some low cost applications are good, very few are great and most of them are drivel.

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