Monday, June 18, 2007

Are Mobile Apps Barking Up the Wrong Tree?

location based services

by Russell Buckley on June 8th, 2007 in Mobile Content
One of the pieces of wisdom currently flowing around the industry is that it’s incredibly hard to get users to download mobile applications.
It’s a refrain I hear from everyone from seasoned investors to rueful executives of companies who have staked their all on a compelling mobile app - after all while most users don’t download apps, it’s going to be different with their app, right?
There’s exceptions to every rule obviously. Mobile games are downloadable applications and that’s surely a thriving business. But the Devil’s Advocate would argue that in the user’s mind, they’re actually downloading a “game”, not an “application”.
Many would argue that in this respect, the mobile is simply following the PC, where applications have been equally difficult. Exceptions are P2P and IM, but outside this relative niche, it’s hard to think of any runaway successes.
So I have a few questions for you, which I’ll cross post at the ForumOxford, to get some of the more vociferous folks chattering over the weekend:
1. Do you agree that mobile apps so far have been a bit a dud?
2. If you do agree, why? Is it because the apps themselves are simply not compelling enough? Are good ones just too hard to explain in marketing terms?
3. Are the functions being undertaken by apps going to migrate to the mobile web, as it becomes cheaper, faster and ever more usable?
Quite a wide-ranging subject, but I would be fascinated by the collective thoughts of MobHappy readers.

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