There’ an App for That: But Don’t Get It!

March 14, 2014

in App Reviews

  • SumoMe

iPhone 5There are now over one million apps each for Apple and Android mobile devices.

So if you wonder “Is there an app for that?,” the answer is likely to be “Yes,” or even “Lots, and lots.”

Supposedly you can store over 40,000 apps on an iPhone running the latest operating system, iOS7.

But how could you possibly remember which ones you had, make use of each of them, or even find them on your phone?  (Think of this analogous problem: What would you do with 40,000 pairs of socks? Consult Imelda Marcos?)

Ask yourself a series of questions before you download and install a new app on your phone or tablet.

What Problem Does the App Solve?

Except for games, you should view mobile apps as potential problem-solving tools.

Question Mark

(VirtualEyeSee Flickr Photo)

Unfortunately, many apps seem to be solutions in search of a problem. The developer believes users have the problem, and so an app is invented to deal with it. But as it turns out, the problem only exists in the app developer’s mind, not in the real world.

Right now I have four or five apps that I could test and write reviews about that are designed to let smartphone owners convert photos taken on their phones into printed and mailed picture postcards.

The developers of those apps seem to think that sending such picture postcards while traveling is something we all want to do, in spite of the fact that we can share those photos electronically and they will arrive immediately at no cost to us.

So, what problem that you have will this app solve?  If there answer is “None,” don’t get the app.

Do I Have an App that Does This?


(Ian Barbour Flickr Photo)

There are almost 29,000 Apple iOS apps for photography alone. Odds are good that many of those apps have exactly the same functions.

There are over 30,000 “Productivity” apps, but how productive would you be if you spent time checking out each one?

So if you’ve already “Got an app for that,” determine whether another, similar app, is going to perform in a better or more intuitive way. If not, don’t get it.

How “Free” is that “Free” App?

Nearly two-thirds of iOS apps are “free.” But that simply means that there is no charge to download and install the app.


(Alan O’Rourke Flickr Photo)

Some “free” apps are stripped-down copies of “Pro” versions which have the features that you really want. So you’ll end up paying to “upgrade” the app.

Other “free” apps promote other in-app purchases to add functionality to the app.

Many “free” app developers are counting on revenue from selling in app-ads, or getting those who download the “free” app to pay to have the ads not display.

So don’t be lured into grabbing an app just because it’s “free” since you may end up spending several dollars to make perform to your desires. And you’ll really be galled if, after paying for those extras, that the app isn’t all its cracked up to be.

Does it Pay to Buy the App?

Don’t be dissuaded from buying an app because you have to pay up-front to get it.

Paid Out

(M Anima Flickr Photo)

Most pay-in-advance apps cost only $0.99. And few cost over $9.99.

You don’t expect to be given free food when you go to the grocery store. As as we’ve seen, even “free” apps usually aren’t “free.”

So if an app looks like it will best suit your needs, don’t be afraid to shell out a few bucks for it.

The Twelve-Step “App-o-holic” Program

Downloading and installing apps on your mobile devices can become addictive.


(Doug Belshaw Flickr Photo)

“Free” apps are like free drinks at a party.

And even when you pay for apps, the prices are so low it’s like “Happy Hour” at your local watering hole.

There should be a “Twelve-Step” program for people (and I’m one of them) who tend to overindulge when it comes to app consumption.

But, the four steps I’ve outlined above should help keep you from “ODing” on apps.

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