The shift of usage away from the web and to mobile is going on in full force. About half of the US population now has a smartphone and that penetration is rapidly growing. That shift has been widely cited as a problem for Facebook. But generally the problem is stated in terms of a smaller…
Trend to watch for 2012-2013 as large networks with massive feature sets rethink their “one app to rule them all” approach to mobile.
But does anyone think having 50 apps with tiny feature sets is a better user experience than 3 apps with massive feature sets? That likely means more visits to the App Store first to find these hot new apps and then for updates and more times entering my password. This is certainly great for Apple. But is it progress?
I argue that this is more regressive than massive apps. Massive apps might be slow, but they are easy to organize and remember. I do not want to have to categorize more apps. I hope the problems of organizing more apps will bring us back to web applications and search.
One of Steve Jobs’ remarks has stuck with me for a long time: in his last interview at the 2010 AllThingsD Conference, he declares that for whatever reason, “smart-phone” owners loves apps and just magically shifted from using Google and the web to using Yelp and XYZ. Has this shift been a benefit to consumers? Is it a better user experience?
(To watch the interview, you have to use an app, iTunes, to download the entire interview. As far as I know, there’s no preview or chunking. I wanted to get Jobs’s exact quote, but I have to download 4 gigs of data just to see a few seconds of video. This is bad news for me as a consumer and bad news for my internet service provider. Closer CDNs will not make this experience better. I want to see maybe 50 megs of of a 4 gig video. [Compare and contrast with YouTube which has very intelligent logic for when and how much data to send across the internet.] This distribution platform is not user-friendly. Nor is the App Store.)