Drowning in apps

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Ian Vandaelle

It seems like these past two weeks have been awash with talk of new smartphone applications and the people who design and build them.

Right on the heels of the DMZ Windows Phone 7 appathon came a much bigger event: the Great Canadian Appathon.

This event pitted teams from across the nation against each other in venues spanning the country. For 48 hours, the teams coded, drank Red Bull and socialized.

Every team was determining what the consumer has already and what they don’t even realize they need yet.

But with over 350,000 apps for the iPhone and a growing number for the Windows Phone 7, Android platforms and Blackberries, when do we simply say that enough is enough?

Now, I’m not talking about the particularly revolutionary apps, nor the particularly useful ones.

I’m not hating on map apps, intuitive game apps or even social networking apps. What I’m hating on are the useless, frivolous apps, and worse yet, the dreaded duplicate apps.

There is no need for hundreds of different apps to access Twitter, Facebook or any other social media site.

They all interface with the same website, they all have relatively similar appearances and function in basically the same way.

In the same vein, there are innumerable apps that serve no clear purpose but to eat up your download cap and confuse you for a few seconds before you blissfully send them to the great app store in the sky with a few simple clicks.

Apps like the 99 cent Fingerprint Protection, which pretends that your phone is capable of fingerprint recognition security, simply to “Blow away your friends and family with how cool the iPhone or iPod touch is”.

Or perhaps the Fart Machine Extreme, an app that gives you access to eight individual fart apps all for the low price of 99 cents.

It’s a chance to play the same hilarious hijinks as your six-year-old cousin, but with a $400 phone.

The entire purpose of these apps is to act like a juvenile tool around your friends and family and waste 99 cents to boot.

My point would be that there are many app developers who have good, original ideas that they execute into useful apps that serve a purpose in making our lives easier.

Their goal is to design, to innovate and yes, maybe to make a few bucks.

But each and every app that serves no purpose, that exist only to flaunt your technology, cheapens the hard work of legitimate developers.

The men and women who work hard to provide interesting and useful apps for the world of smartphones must bemoan the existence of these cheap facsimiles.

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