Guest blogger Ben Laley writes:
It’s probably safe to say that most people are aware of app stores in one form or another. Whether it be Apple’s App Store, Google’s Play marketplace, or other offerings from Amazon, Microsoft, and BlackBerry.
App stores, as we know them, have been with us for over four years now; in those four years, the business of creating apps has exploded into a multi-billion dollar industry. Apple alone has paid out $5 billion to developers over this time. Businesses and individuals are being transformed into millionaires overnight and thousands of jobs have been created that may not have been available before. This all sounds fantastic, but this kind of success is only really relevant to a minority of developers out there.
Currently, there are around 600,000 apps on Apple’s App Store and around 600,000 apps on Google Play — that’s a lot of apps. The question is: How many apps have you downloaded or interacted with while you’ve owned your smartphone or tablet? 100? 300? 600? 600 may seem like a lot, but downloading over 600 apps is definitely feasible for some users. These potential 600 apps amount to 0.1% of the total apps available for either platform, which could leave 59,400 apps never seeing the light of your smartphone screen.
This leads me to my main point. Which would you rather have available to you: 6,000 well-planned, well-executed, awesome apps, or 600,000 mediocre apps? Some prefer the choice inherent to the latter, but is having access to hundreds of fart apps something you really want to shout about, or would you prefer to browse a finely curated app store stocking only 6,000 strong apps?
Of course the quality of an app is somewhat discretionary. An app that I think is great could very well be something that you think is awful and vice versa, but generally speaking, people reviewing apps tend to sing from the same hymn sheet. To me, the fact that Apple has 600,000 apps available is more an indication of engagement and enthusiasm for its platform rather than a gauge of the quality. In contrast, just because BlackBerry’s App World has only 100,000 apps doesn’t mean it should be discounted from the equation. I have heard numerous people say that they wouldn’t bother with BlackBerry’s offering because of its relatively low number of apps. It’s mad, really, but true.
It’s possible that one day we can have both a large quantity of quality products, but to date I have yet to see it. To me, the larger the number of apps, the larger amount of rubbish there is to sort through in order to find the good stuff. Ultimately, though, the vendors of these app stores would prefer larger numbers as that means larger revenues. So my question to you all is this: quality or quantity?