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Is the App Store Broken? 258

A recent post by Instapaper's Marco Arment suggests that design flaws in Apple's App Store are harming the app ecosystem, and users are suffering because of it. "The dominance and prominence of 'top lists' stratifies the top 0.02% so far above everyone else that the entire ecosystem is encouraged to design for a theoretical top-list placement that, by definition, won’t happen to 99.98% of them." Arment notes that many good app developers are finding continued development to be unsustainable, while scammy apps are encouraged to flood the market.

"As the economics get tighter, it becomes much harder to support the lavish treatment that developers have given apps in the past, such as full-time staffs, offices, pixel-perfect custom designs of every screen, frequent free updates, and completely different iPhone and iPad interfaces. Many will give up and leave for stable, better-paying jobs. (Many already have.)" Brent Simmons points out the indie developers have largely given up the dream of being able to support themselves through iOS development. Yoni Heisler argues that their plight is simply a consequence of ever-increasing competition within the industry, though he acknowledges that more app curation would be a good thing. What strategies could Apple (and the operators of other mobile application stories) do to keep app quality high?
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Is the App Store Broken?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @04:49PM (#47569605)

    It's not a marketplace, it's a lottery for developers.

    • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @05:04PM (#47569777) Homepage Journal

      This is actually a much better way of framing what I was coming here to say.

      They're relying on the fact that big success stories are big to continue a narrative that encourages development targeting mobile platforms. It's every bit a bubble, where people see only the positive signs of the market in the news.

      Now the reality is starting to set in(and it's not just App Store, Play Store has the same problems), and serious "investors"(developers investing time in money in app development), are pulling out. The next step of a bubble is the "pop" where everyone realizes there's not much of a market left, and flees.

      • Which confirms what I thought about this market all along, that it was foolish developers chasing nickels in place of dollars.
        • by Noah Haders ( 3621429 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @05:28PM (#47569975)
          I don't have time to reply to this post. I'm too busy playing the kim kardashian game.
        • Which confirms what I thought about this market all along, that it was foolish developers chasing nickels in place of dollars.

          And I'm fine with that, as long as the market remains a competitive Darwinian pool.

          The nature of any rapidly expanding ecosystem is that there will be a multiplicity of variously capable denizens that'll be culled to the fittest survivors, particularly as resources become scarcer. Apple's app store is transitioning from that explosive expansion phase and is now hitting the resource ($) limits as iOS loses ground against their competitors. Other app stores will follow suit as they also reach saturation po

      • There has never been much of a market to begin with.

        Given that you can today get quite decent indie games for your computer for 5-10 bucks, flashgames-gone-iPad can't sell for more than pennies. There was a bit of money in timewaster games, games you can pick up and put down at the spur of the moment as you have to kill a little time, waiting in line, waiting for the bus or waiting for your girlfriend to stop talking.

        The problem is that these games are rather easy to make and that only the first handful of

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        Or, more correctly - you can't just develop an app. You must market your app too.

        Too many of the big guys got there because they got in early. Then everyone assumes "if you build it, they will come", but no, you have to advertise it, market it, or like obscure FOSS projects, no one knows about it.

        It's just like everything else - doesn't matter if it's Apple's App Store, Google Play, Steam, Xbox Live Market, Playstation Network, etc. Just putting it on there isn't enough - you have to get word out there.


      • The next step of a bubble is the "pop" where everyone realizes there's not much of a market left, and flees.

        Well, only the get rich quick hunters will flee. The ones that stay will be the ones that realise that providing something "boring" but essential are the ones that will make it big and stay on top, just so long as they aren't sleeping at the wheel and let someone else do it better.
        That, and those who are dedicated to making good games / timewaster applications that people will actually want to play... not just the floods of "me too" copy apps.

      • by jbolden ( 176878 )

        Your theory would be plausible except that investors are pouring in not out as they are getting terrific returns on investment.

    • It's just reheating the American Dream: Anyone could win. Just not everyone.

      So ... yes, it's a lottery. But then again, so is the Dream.

      • by smaddox ( 928261 )

        I thought the American Dream was a house with a lawn, a wife, 2.5 kids, and a dog. When did it become hitting the lottery?

        • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @08:50PM (#47571299)
          There are various "dreams" of course, but the Gold Rush mentality has always been strong in US culture. Our current top marginal tax rates certainly support that assertion - average people pay dearly in real money to protect their fantasy future-self.
        • by paiute ( 550198 )

          I thought the American Dream was a house with a lawn, a wife, 2.5 kids, and a dog. When did it become hitting the lottery?

          When the middle class went extinct.

        • When people learned that working won't get them a house that you want to live in and that one income just ain't enough to get by on, let alone when you have kids and a dog.

    • Any marketplace of infinitely scalable production is a lottery!

      Before music recordings, if you wanted to hear music, somebody had to play it. A more popular musician could make somewhat more than an average musician - maybe substantially more - but the top handful couldn't entertain the entire planet singlehandedly. Now they can. The economy of agrarian farmers - where a 20% more productive farmer makes 20% more money - is over. Now it's winner-takes-all.

    • It's not a marketplace, it's a lottery for developers.

      Quite true and one where you have to make something that likely already exists.

      Besides games, I haven't downloaded a new app in a long time. Most of the ones I have and use are mature and do their function well. There was a wild time when many functions and app types weren't yet developed but now? Not everything has been invented, but most categories are fairly mature and there is less and less room for groundbreaking apps for the overall market (still plenty for niche markets).

    • by sg_oneill ( 159032 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @11:23PM (#47571945)

      It's not a marketplace, it's a lottery for developers.

      Or at least for our clients. I cottoned on *very* early that the SAFE money isn't in the app store, but in writing apps for others. Usually poor schmucks who believe their "Floppy duck clone will corner the market if only they had a coder". At first I was pretty OK with this, after all no one else in my hometown was doing it, and I could easily clock $4K a week ($12K for 3 weeks development with contracts back to back) and dude these where pretty good apps. But after a while it sort of started to feel like I was taking people for a ride by not explaining the market to these people. In the end I decided to stop doing social networking apps simply because they almost NEVER succeed , and I started insisting that they needed to start on a marketing plan with a professional *before* the contract starts (Since marketing considerations DO in fact drive it). This was all to protect my clients and ultimately my own reputation (Sometimes when an app fails in the market the client will blame the coder and thats BAD for reputation, even if its just total unfair nonsense).

      And in the end I was lucky to get $500 a week because the work dried up as people moved to less ethical mass-production offshore developers who wouldnt say unpleasant things like "You need to spend some money on a marketing plan first" or "I dont feel comfortable spending your life savings on yet another facebook clone"

      Yeah, I work for the government now. Somehow this feels more ethical.

  • by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @04:50PM (#47569617) Homepage Journal

    Become the sole developer for Blackberry app!
    • It is actually a bit late with Blackberry. It is has plenty of apps, but the "new" platforms (BB10 and WP8) were actually a good business when they come out and you couldget first mover advantage, by the time the platforms were big enough to make profits the the first moverswere on top of the top10 lists. Not sure though if I would bet on a 5th or 6th platform at this point though. The lottery odds might still be better on BB10 and WP8 than on Android and iOS, though the jackpot is also significantly smalle

  • by swschrad ( 312009 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @04:51PM (#47569635) Homepage Journal

    that thing gets in my way as a user all the time anyway. I do NOT want to see the stacks of pre-teen games, I am looking for a specific app almost all the time. just blow the sucker away, and if somebody wants to see downloads by counts, sell them an app to pull in the data.

    • I reject his premise prime facia. There is no evidence to believe that not having a top ten list would lead to a more equitable pay distribution. Its just something he can bitch about.
    • Amazon's app store is a bit better, because they're good at correlating things you've bought with things you might want to buy, so have recommendations that don't totally suck. The only reason I actually have it installed though is their free app of the day (which isn't necessarily a good thing - there are a couple of games that it's given me that have wasted a lot of my time...)
  • by Travis Mansbridge ( 830557 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @04:54PM (#47569671)
    A list of recently purchased/downloaded or even new additions would cycle a larger group of useful apps to the app store audience.
    • A list of recently purchased/downloaded or even new additions would cycle a larger group of useful apps to the app store audience.

      New apps should be featured, not most popular or most sold. Right now there are an extremely limited number of ways to filter apps when you browse and this more than anything is hurting the smaller, startup app developers. I know, I've been one!

      • How about a date range option. Something like Monthly, Yearly, All Time.

        It'd be great if there was an option to see best apps from year to year.

    • by scm ( 21828 )
      If you open the App Store on an iOS device, the first thing you see is a list of new apps.
    • This is already a solved problem:

      The first thing you see on the page is the most recent entries, no matter what they are. Genre pages are available, with each genre getting their own page of recent entries. Completely separate to that are 'charts', which show the top tracks from this month, past six months, and 'all time', with both site-wide and per-genre charts available.

      The site's search feature needs work, but that's a different problem altogether. The point is that there is room for

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @04:58PM (#47569713) Homepage

    There should be far fewer "apps". Any "app" that just displays content should be a web site. Once you get rid of the appcrap, there probably is no need for more apps than there were boxed software products.

    • by nwf ( 25607 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @05:04PM (#47569757)

      Most apps perform way, way faster all the while using significantly less data than do web sites. This may be more a ding against most web sites, but is valid none the less. I use a number of apps that can fetch their data and display it before a mobile browser has even pulled down the main content, let alone the 20 JavaScript libraries, 12 crap affiliate site icons/links and the countless images that add nothing.

      However, some apps are worse than their mobile web site versions, e.g. most news sites.

      My own company's mobile app, which I developed, can typically refresh a page in under 25 ms via 3G. Plus, customers prefer the apps to the mobile web sites.

      • by jxander ( 2605655 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @05:45PM (#47570139)

        Question for you, as someone who has developed a mobile app:

        How much harder is it to optimize a mobile version of the webpage vs writing an app from scratch and getting it approved for App Store release?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Hewligan ( 202585 )

          Well, I've done both of those, and the webpage option is far, far easier.

          But people always want you to build an app, because apps are cool and websites are old hat.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          My question for him was a bit more simplistic. I'm a cell infrastructure developer, and most 3G ping times are north of 100ms, so how the hell is he getting a 25ms update?

        • by maccodemonkey ( 1438585 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @06:54PM (#47570681)

          Question for you, as someone who has developed a mobile app:

          How much harder is it to optimize a mobile version of the webpage vs writing an app from scratch and getting it approved for App Store release?

          Mobile developer here who has done hybrid apps, Android apps, iOS apps, web apps, etc.

          It's hard.

          Web apps do not get the native scrolling mechanism, so scrolling feels very funky in web apps. Web app developers write their own inertial scrolling mechanisms to try to deal with it, but web apps always feel wrong as a result.

          You also don't get access to a lot of native functions. No barcode scanning. No access to the user's preloaded Facebook account (with authorization, of course.)

          There is another problem in that, especially on Android, web technologies are just badly supported. It's getting better in more recent versions of Android where Chrome is actually the engine used end to end by everyone, but earlier versions still on Google's old ass version of WebKit blew chunks.

          Loading can be a problem as well. Real apps by definition cache a certain amount of code and resources on the device. A web page has to fetch all resources from start to finish. So while a real app has it's loading UI cached on device, and can display it right away when the user taps a link, a web page has to go fetch a UI over the network to display a loading UI for the operation the web app is about to do over the network. Gross.

          The other really messy thing is a real app is pretty easily able to figure out what kind of device it's on and render content accordingly. Web apps can kind of guess what type of display/device they are running on, but again, it can be messy. Especially with new things coming like Adaptive UI/multi windowing coming on iOS where your window or screen size may have no real connection to what kind of device you're running on. Web pages at this point basically assuming they're always rendering full screen on mobile, and do their layout computations based on that, but that looks like it will change on future iOS and Android devices.

          You also have a problem with native widgets. If I code a real iOS app, if I run it on iOS 6, it looks like iOS 6. If I run it on iOS 7, it looks like iOS 7. I don't have to create new assets, the app automatically ingests the correct look from the widget set built into the OS. With a web page, I get the "joy" of building my widget set from scratch, and trying to make it at least resemble the system UI widgets the user has been trained to use. And better yet, if I make my web app look like an iOS app, I suddenly have a bunch of Android users unhappy my web app looks like an Android app.

          Finally, web apps don't offer any way to be embedded as extensions on iOS, or activities on Android. You can kind of fake it with some really really ugly URL handling handshaking, but this is really problem prone.

          TL; DR: Mobile web frameworks/browsers are still immature, and don't offer basically mobile specific functionality that's needed to do apps well. It's not a problem of it being hard to do a web app just as good as a native app, it's a problem of it being impossible because the feature sets just aren't there.

    • All I see is a natural settling of the app bubble. This is a good thing. It just means the market is maturing. The alternative is a hard crash, like when the dot-com bubble popped, and no one wants that.

      The author all but admits that app development was seen as a get-rich-quick scheme, and acknowledges the market is maturing, but falters when it comes time to face reality. Removing "top sales" lists or curtailing frivolous app development would be a bandaid. It would inconvenience users in a ham-handed

    • The problem is when you have no access to data, then your website solution's useless to me.

      For example, the Ultra Street Fighter 4 Framedata app for tablets would be useless to me if I had to have data to access it. the data's rarely going to get updated, and the structure of the data doesn't fit nicely into ebook format either.

      This also isn't the biggest problem either. The biggest problem is the amount of apps. For example, there's a ton of twitter apps in the store, which one do you use? Also what reason

  • by blueshift_1 ( 3692407 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @05:02PM (#47569747)
    I feel like this is basically the same story as Desktop application development. A few started, as time went on and it was profitable many people entered the market, and eventually the main market is controlled by a few key players. There will be a handful of smaller companies making modest profits on really useful tools, but a lot of it will go unnoticed by the masses. People download what they need. Period. If your app doesn't apply to the masses, then the masses aren't going to buy it. But if it is useful enough and polished enough, there is a good chance it will flourish (though like anything viral - some ridiculous things will get through).
  • by jolyonr ( 560227 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @05:05PM (#47569781) Homepage

    Too many people want to get rich by selling apps and expect Apple to pay for the marketing of their apps for free on the App Store.

    The App Store serves one purpose - not to promote your apps, but to make money for Apple.

    If you want to go into business selling an app for iOS then you need to have some plan in place to market it. That doesn't mean sticking it on the App Store and hoping for the best.

    If you can't afford to market your app (either by paying for advertising somewhere or just physically spending your own time promoting it) then you really shouldn't waste money or time to develop it either.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I think most developers would be happy if the App Store just had competent search and good personalization/recommendations, like other sites have had for over a decade. As it is, the store is the equivalent of putting something at the end of the aisle for couple of weeks and then immediately putting it in a back room where people have to ask for it by name and an employee brings out a box of crap you have to sift through that might not even contain what you asked for. I would guess that one factor in the fa

    • Oh yeah, what the world needs is more advertising. If that takes off, I'll create an adblocker for the appstore and get rich, for there will be ONE app that EVERYBODY wants!

    • by maccodemonkey ( 1438585 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @06:58PM (#47570725)

      Too many people want to get rich by selling apps and expect Apple to pay for the marketing of their apps for free on the App Store.

      I don't think this is quite what people are expecting. Rather, the problem is Apple directly prohibits most ways that an app can be promoted. Want to do a demo? No great way to do it in the app store. A trial? Forbidden. Want to offer a download directly from the developer? Nope.

      So really what developers are requesting is simple: If Apple wants to directly hand hold the distribution and retail channel of an application, they either need to improve visibility for applications within that retail channel, or give developers more flexibility in how they can market applications. Apple isn't entirely responsible, but because they want developers to be so reliant on their store front, the argument is that Apple needs to actually provide a good store front to make that trade off worth it.

      It would be like if you struck a deal with Target where they had full control over how your product was sold and exclusive rights to sell it, and then they stuck it in a dark corner of their store and never sold a single unit.

      • by jbolden ( 176878 )

        Want to do a demo? No great way to do it in the app store. A trial? Forbidden.

        Huh? There are tons of apps with a free version and a paid version and/or paid upgrade. That's a demo / trial.

        or give developers more flexibility in how they can market applications

        Apple doesn't control marketing they control the point of sale. I get marketed all the time where various sites I'm on tell me if they an associated mobile application that does XYZ.

        • Huh? There are tons of apps with a free version and a paid version and/or paid upgrade. That's a demo / trial.

          Not exactly. Apple doesn't allow actual demos, they're pretty explicit about this. "Lite" apps are the workaround and they tend to offer reduced functionality but are free- this can serve as a demo if it's easy to divide your app into "the intro stuff" and "the longer term stuff", for example by giving away the first few levels of a game- but cannot serve as a demo if your app doesn't have this distinction.

          For example, I'm pretty sure that Apple will not permit a 30-day free trial, nor do they permit you to

    • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @08:43PM (#47571263) Journal

      Imagine you have a store the size of you typical WalMart Supercenter, packed with aisle upon aisle of app boxes. There are 5-6 generalized sections, and absolutely no organization within the sections - apps just set in rows on the shelf. Except it's not even that convenient, because when you walk into the store you are in a small space with what are effectively endcaps for each section. To get through to the rest of the store, you have to go around the side of this front display area through a small, unmarked door. So you usually just pick what's on the endcap and checkout because even for people who have wandered into the main body of the store, they find it's just stocked with thousands upon thousands of seemingly identical products for a single task - most of which mirror an app that's on the end cap with a 4+ star review from a million users.

      It's dysfunctional, but in a very Apple way.

  • by west ( 39918 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @05:06PM (#47569791)

    One possible imperfect solution:

    For $x ($200? $500? $1,000?), Apple will do a real review of the application and attach the results to the app store listing. Then allow sorting by rating.

    This is imperfect, in that it's still one person's opinion and subjective as any review is, but:

    - It allows good applications to have an possible (no guarantees) avenue to stand-out apart from sales.
    - By charging enough to cover the cost, it allows Apple to hire enough people to do timely reviews.
    - Keeps out the chaff (who's willing to pay $500 for a guaranteed 'F' rating)

    Nothing will guarantee successful curation. The question is what methods might *improve* discovery. Remember that any method that can be done by anyone, will be done by everyone, making it useless.

    • by MouseR ( 3264 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @05:18PM (#47569879) Homepage

      Adding more category tags and features filtering to the search engine would let you find precisely what you are looking for.

      But despite the absence of a very good search engine, even my two dinky Apps have managed to gather thousands of download.

      What's really missing IMO is an in-app rating SDK. Users just cant be bothered to rate Apps because it takes them out of their task and into a different app where they must navigate the comments & ratings links in your App listing on the App Store.

      Something akin to Netflix. Right in the app where you can star it and add a comment.

      • by west ( 39918 )

        Indeed, I am not certain why Apple hasn't done this. Can they not ensure the external call to rate the app isn't hacked to always give 5 stars?

        I'd love to hear the technical justification (and I'm sure there is one, but I'm curious).

        • You know, the iOS8 extensions API lets you securely launch code from inside another app; perhaps they could include an App Store extension that does this?

    • There already were several "app discovery" apps; things like AppShopper and Toucharcade that let you see news and reviews, friends' preferred apps, and so on. However Apple got kind of ban-happy with them a while back for replicating App Store functionality and the ones that are still around are on thin ice. They should be cultivating that category instead. The whole point of Apps is to fill functionality niches that the host company overlooks.

  • With all these frameworks and "platforms", and more and more "drag and drop" app building for Mobile and Browser apps, Web Development is no longer a sustainable means of employment for freelancing. Within the next 5 years, any High Schooler CS student will be able to drag and drop their way to a Cloud Hosted Web and Mobile App with a REST-API. It's to the point that the median wage is less than I can make as a full-time employee -- which means contracting is becoming no longer viable a because clients willing to pay my rate of $110/hr (which I consider very reasonable considering my skillset) are farer and fewer between especially when there's a legion of scrubs out there willing to together something in Angular (today's a very popular MVC that holds your dick for you while taking away all that nasty OOP stuff like inheritance and abstraction) for as low as $35 or $40 an hour. Thank god I have a few in-demand specializations and some arcane knowledge. But it's hard to want to stay Contracting when lately I get job offers (just one today in fact) offering $150k to $200k a year + benes on a regular basis. So while Contract work seems less viable, Full-Time seems to be offering better wages than ever. Probably due to the strong demand for Developers capable of filling Leadership roles. However, I'm not giving up just yet, and working on creating something that doesn't exist yet, a self-generating API platform and hopefully will turn to the new fangled "begging" economy to raise a livable wage (or more) to develop the UI portion in the form of some Services or Apps over on Kickstarter once I have a demo and a fancy video. But if the Begging Economy stuff doesn't work, yes I will likely take a FTE position at a Company sometime in the next year or two.
    • It doesn't mean the whole Web Dev "Ecosystem" is broken. It's working fine. People just have unreasonable expectations of it.

      It has changed, and may no longer support the way you want to engage it... if you don't adapt, it's you that's broken.

    • I don't really fear that you'll be going extinct anytime soon. Web designers were in that bind before. "Nephew art" anyone? Where webdesigners got fired 'cause "my nephew can do it, he's good with computers".

      Development doesn't stop, especially not in a technical field so closely tied with marketing and PR as web design. What "anyone" can do will flood the market, to the point where webpages that offer it will be met with "been there, done that" yawns. What people want is something new. New ways of presenti

  • The problem is that the mobile app market has become saturated and the price users are willing to pay for apps is so low. Getting rid of top lists may remove some perceived unfairness but it won't solve the fundamental problem (from the app developer perspective) of supply and demand.
    • by jbolden ( 176878 )

      the price users are willing to pay for apps is so low.

      Prices have been going up. I'm seeing applications all the time with prices around $65 / user / mo for licensing. You didn't see that 3 years ago. Now if you mean generic mass popular crap for which there are hundreds of alternatives there the price may very well be going to 0.

      The fundamental problem for app developers is they are still going after mass market rather than verticals or niches.

  • That is, if you already own app A that does (x) then you can sign up to randomly get a random app B that also does x.

    If you agree to rate and compare both of them, then at the end of one week, you can if you desire, trade in app A for app B for free if A costs more than B (or the price differential if B costs more than A.)

    When buying apps, these ratings would be shown next to the regular ones, and be sortable.

    The app creators (and the app store) would have to agree to this program, giving up their produ

  • Decaying ratings (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pla ( 258480 )
    Subject says it all:

    Don't allow a once-five-star app to rest on its laurels forever. After six months if you haven't inspired anyone new to rate you, your rating should decay to zero. Not only would this tend to favor new apps over old ones, but it would also effectively punish those developers who "fire and forget" app after app after app with zero support or updates for old apps.
    • Re:Decaying ratings (Score:5, Interesting)

      by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @05:57PM (#47570263) Journal

      And what exactly is the advantage for an app to be new? Or what is the disadvantage for an app to be old?
      Last time I checked software did not age.
      I rather have an old working app than a new immature one ... that does not mean new apps are immature by definition.

      And why do users demand updates for old apps if the app is just working fine? I hate this update mania.

      40 Apps on my iPad and many more on my iPhone demand that I update. I don't ... as long there os nothing broken I keep the old one.

      If I easy could fallback to the previous one, then I would try new updates. But more interesting would be too have the old _and_ the new one.

      • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @09:02PM (#47571357)
        What you are missing is that ratings are assigned relative to the competition that existed when the rating was assigned. Go over to gamespot and check out the graphics of a game that got the top rating for graphics 8 years ago. Are those graphics still 10/10? Not even close. Go over to and search SD Cards by "Average Customer Review." Many of the top-ranked cards are little 8 and 16 GB cards that were rated up years ago.
  • No, seriously.
    I would like to sort by app age (time elapsed since it was first published) then average # of updates/month. Then take that output and breakdown by category. Or breakdown by free, freemium, shareware, paid, paid for by ads, etc.

    As an Android user, I loathe using Google Play to look for software. I have 5 games on my phone, all casual, the sort of things that you play while waiting for the bus or on the loo, and still I get shitty recommendations like Batman Arkham Origins (I hate Batman), Holl

    • Yes, this is idea. The google play store is completely useless for finding top notch apps. As with the PC market, there's usually 2-3 applications that have all the features and aren't buggy and don't have a terrible user interface, and then 1-2 open source options that are very similar, and then 10,000 one-off single feature applets which are mostly useless and ancient.

      I don't even use the google play store search function. I just google for lists of top versions of the type of app I need (with thi

  • Matt Asay says there is more certain money when you develop apps for enterprise []. "[D]evelopers who target the enterprise are twice as likely to make $5,000 per app per month and 3 times as likely to earn over $25,000 per app per month."
    • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

      You mean you can make more money developing software to do things that people need than churning out the same old crap games and hoping to make money from advertising or in-app purchases?

      I am shocked. Shocked, I tell you!

  • I'm consistently amazed how everyone continues to make bad online stores when there are good examples to follow.
    Ebay and Newegg are fairly good examples. They have extensive hierarchies of categorization, a healthy supply of
    sensible filters, and, most importantly, they work in a sensible manner.

    Case in point: you navigate down various categories, set up some filters, click on a product, then hit the "back"
    button, and, lo and behold, you're taken back to where you expected to be. With some stores, once you

  • ... but I stopped looking for new apps (well, i was getting mostly games) for iOS because there's simply too much free to play shit.

  • in the glory over capitalism.

  • I can't tell you the number of times I've searched for games and occasionally other categories and gotten fed up and not bought anything. The categories are mostly unhelpful, the search is completely useless, there's no good filtering, it's awful.

    That being said, I still have dozens of apps, some with obscure features that I don't know how I found them, so it's not impossible to find apps, it's just hard to fine tune a search.

    One filter I would like to see is "Has In-App Purchases" being something I can fi

    • This, Just 'categories'?? really? How about a level or two of additional sub-categories, so when people are looking for say a graphics program they could go to productivity->graphics->cad..

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        Categories is plural. I'd like multiple categories, possibly including some kind of tagging so you could find things that overlapped.

        It's not just one-level of category hierarchies.

  • We are the 99.98%!

  • Apple's job is to sell devices, and to a lesser extent, sell some apps to skim off the top. Apple doesn't owe developers a living.

    A torrent of Shovelware seems to be a phase each new platform goes through (I remember when CD-ROMs became popular, you could literally buy Shovelware from K-Mart that was sold by the foot), and this phase eventually pass here too. Those that suck at it will figure out that app development isn't an easy goldmine, and they'll be less me-too-ware.

    And I'll echo what somebody else

  • ... on every device. Swap in lower ranked stuff, so the top 100 covers the top 100k.

  • The big issue is that there is a "race to the bottom" in apps. There's always someone with deep pockets who can create an app that does what yours does, a little worse, and a little cheaper or for free, and because you've got a market with low discoverability, it's the cheapest app that wins. You only have to look at the startling decline in iPhone gaming over the past few years; after a lot of promising experiments in new titles around 2010-2012, games over $1 now almost exclusively ports of successful tit

How come financial advisors never seem to be as wealthy as they claim they'll make you?