There May Be An App For It, But Do You Really Need It?
Remember when smartphones first appeared on the scene and slowly the world started going app crazy? From a trickle, to a torrent to a flood, by 2019 there were 2.2 million apps available in the Apple App Store with even more available for Android users. But the more select band of Windows phone users have always been at something of a disadvantage when it comes to apps. The latest figures are from a few years ago in 2016, when the feeling was that around 850,000 were available for Windows phones and tablets.
Looking at the average smartphone today, and the way that it’s used, there are some other very interesting statistics. There are generally between 60 and 80 apps that have been downloaded onto a phone, and people are generally using one of those apps at least for 90% of the time they may be on that phone. On average they use 30 apps each month so, for the rest of them, they are just sitting on the phone, using up a significant proportion of its memory.
So now, as we move forward in time, questions are starting to be asked about whether we really need apps when we could just be using the mobile versions of the website instead.
Looking back to 2018, when Windows announced that it was discontinuing its business apps, some thought it might spell the beginning of the end for Windows phones. On the other hand, it may have been an extremely prescient move.
This is because the divergence in the capabilities between computers and phones is slowly but surely narrowing, making web browsing easier than ever before. Add to this clearer graphics and bigger screens, and a very different kind of picture starts to emerge. Then add the fact that apps are expensive to develop in the first place, not mention maintain when they’re up and running, and there’s another disincentive for businesses and other organisations to have them in the first place.
That’s why you’ll find that many high profile names don’t bother with them at all, including Kickstarter and Instagram competitor imagur.com. Even some big businesses like online slots and casino sites operate without an app, and this doesn’t affect the player experience at all. There is even a sound commercial argument that the less that needs to be spent on app development, the more can be invested in creating a better online user experience for customers.
Even if apps are not ever going to disappear forever, there is evidence that groups of them may well start to consolidate. A prime example comes from Indonesia and Go-Jek. While it started as a ride-sharing app it has since morphed into an all-in-one mobile wallet, food delivery, and general lifestyle service, as well as still fulfilling its original purpose.
So, while we might not be quite ready to dispense with the app just yet, there are sure to be many more ways in which we can enjoy life online via our tablets and phones in future – which is good news for everyone.