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If It Is a World of Full of Apps, What’s Your App Strategy?

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Apps, Apps, Apps. The numbers (for what they are worth) keep going up in the Apple App Store and in the Android Marketplace. Some are saying that’s a great thing, some say the App-Centric focus is leading to (gasp!) the death of the Internet. One thing for sure, the pace at the moment is dizzying if you try to keep up. I admit it, I’m an App-aholic, and love to A.) try out new Apps and B.) See that an App has been updated. Since I don’t currently use an Android device I deal only with Apple’s world of Apps, but from what I read there are plenty of Android folks out there who could join me in some sort of App-aholic Anonymous club. I noticed good friend Josh Bancroft tweeted last night that he had accumulated over 1000 Apps.

Well, at least I’m not as far gone as Josh, weighing in around 450 or so. Not all of those Apps live on my devices. Many I’ll never look at again after giving them a try. Some I purchase (especially if they are free) just to satisfy my addiction, some to review. Face it, like any other field of human endeavor where quantity becomes a measure there’s going to be some good, some bad, and a lot of mediocre. Only the Apps I use frequently reside on my devices, although the addition of Folders in iOS4.x has made it easier for me to keep some Apps that fall into a specialty category for me. Examples of that are travel Apps. I have periods of my life when I travel quite a bit and longer periods when I don’t. I used to remove the Apps during those longer periods and put them on as I was gearing up for a trip or two. Now they just reside in a Folder on my iPhone. Folders is one of the reasons I’m eagerly awaiting the iPad update to iOS4.x.

In the Apple App world, finding new Apps can be a chore. There’s no pleasure in browsing the App Store as there are just too many Apps. Maybe that’s a plethora of riches, maybe that’s just a glut, but either way Apple has yet to find a way to make it an enjoyable experience even with the addition of a Genius hookup for Apps. For my money, the Apple App Store is a place you go to pick up something you already know about, not to shop around.

So, I rely on websites and Twitter, and of course at least one App to keep up to date when I have the time. That App is AppAdvice. You can access it on the web as well as on your iDevice, and at the moment it gives me the best run down of what’s new and what’s updated. AppAdvice runs a column or regular feature called “Apps Gone Free” that tracks when an App drops it’s price to free. (They also update when there is a price drop as well.) This is handy, because I will frequently put an App in my Wish List if I don’t feel like dropping the coin when I first hear about it. In fact, if I don’t pull the plug on a purchase when I first hear and read about a paid App, I usually don’t do so at all until or if it goes free.

So, here is a quick rundown of my strategy. I keep an eye on AppAdvice. If something strikes my fancy, I either purchase it or dump it to my Wish List. About once every two weeks or so I review my Wish List. If I’m still interested, I might make the purchase. In the meantime, I keep an eye on Apps Gone Free for any App that drops to that free zone, and if it does, I’ll pull the trigger. So far, (and I guess you can say it is still early) buying Apps reminds me of buying DVDs back when I did that. If you bought right away you paid full price. If you waited around, the prices always came down on most things of interest.

For App Updates, I usually scan the App Store once in the morning and once in the evening. I’m more amazed when there are no updates than when I see updates available. If an App that isn’t currently on an iDevice is updated, I’ll usually sync it over and check it out to see what’s new when I have the time.

I’m curious about the strategies of other App users, especially if you’re on an Android device. What are your strategies? How do you look for Apps? Are you picky, or an App-aholic like me? Do you keep your Apps on your device if they aren’t used frequently?

Let us know in comments.

Warner Crocker is a professional theatre director, producer and playwright and also a Tablet PC enthusiast. He is also a Microsoft MVP for Tablet PCs. Send email to Warner. You can follow him on Twitter or Google+

5 Comments

  1. aftermath

    09/08/2010 at 4:12 pm

    No “apps” here. My strategy is avoid and educate.

    All proprietary software is problematic, “apps” are the worst. Woe to you who predicate your workflow on them. You’re late to the party. Some of us got our hard-knocks education with Windows CE. That had nothing to do with it being Microsoft, and everything to do with it being an embedded OS on non-standard hardware. Didn’t have a chance to learn your lesson the first time around? Good news! Apple and Google are hosting parties just for you! Hopefully, you’re not predicating your ability to earn income on them. That’s precarious. On the other hand, if you’re just using them for “fun”, then you may want to put down your device and engage the world around you for a change.

    If something can be done in a web browser. I use the website. I don’t use devices that can’t use real websites in real web browsers.

    If you want to check out the most powerful, popular “app-store” on the world, look into: apt-get.

  2. GoodThings2Life

    09/08/2010 at 4:41 pm

    I really try to minimize the number of apps on my mobile devices. My phone is first and foremost a PHONE, and then beyond that I use it to access email/attachments/web content in that order, and occasionally take a few pictures if I don’t happen to have my real camera with me.

    I have a few though… Facebook and IMDb that I frequently use if I’m bored and mobile (like waiting on my oil change on Saturday), and I have a few network diagnostic utilities and Remote Desktop in case I’m away from a computer and there’s an emergency at work that I need to work on in a pinch.

    My music is on my MP3 device– my Zune– where it belongs so it’s not sucking up battery preventing me from doing what I need on my phone.

    As aftermath said, I try to disengage from the devices and engage the rest of the world when I’m mobile.

  3. Luis

    09/08/2010 at 5:59 pm

    I look at http://www.AppPicker.com. AppAdvice is nice for news but I like AppPicker’s open database format better.

  4. JOE H

    09/09/2010 at 5:37 am

    This post reminds me of one fatal flaw in itunes that people are overlooking in all the ping/game zone/Apple as center of digital universe.

    Itunes sucks for shopping. Browsing for product – either music or applications – is difficult unless you know exactly what you want, there is no way to compare products side-by-side, and there is no multiple view like a tabbed browser. Everything is linear and hierarchical in a way that I haven’t interacted with digital media in 5 years.

  5. frblckstr

    09/13/2010 at 3:20 am

    Hm, I remember that people frowned upon the websites where you could search (and download) PocketPC apps because… there is an AppStore! That is the new way! No Websites needed!

    (History repeating itself?)

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