During my life, I owned more than five smartphones. Let’s be accurate: Android phones. One LG, and several Samsung phones. The real reason why I switched from a non-smartphone to an Android phone was the fact that you were able to download apps.
Apps were a fascinating thing back then. Instead of browsing on slow web pages which were not optimized for mobile you simply downloaded an app. There was and there is an app for everything. I always loved to browse through the TOP 100 list on the Playstore. Social media apps, games, there was an app for everything.
Do We Need an App for Everything
Today is February 2nd, 2017. Some time has passed since the first app was released and today we have literally millions of apps. There is an app for everything. Every day a new app is released: an app for reading, writing, communicating, taking photos, social networking, becoming more productive, creating memes.
In addition, every 12 hours a new Instagram fake shit app is released and every felt 10 minutes there is a new dating app in the app store. We are living in an abundance of apps. The app thing which started as a cool functionality is out of control.
Most Apps are Used only Once
It happened to me too many times that I downloaded an app which I only used once. I use the Ryanair app only 4 or 6 times a year to use the mobile check-in functionality. I use the train app only once a year when I am actively looking for a train connection. Last year I downloaded three different taxi apps for Ireland, Estonia, and Germany. How often did I use each of these apps? Exactly: once.
Apps became a Matter of Course
Apps became a matter of course without a valid reason. In 90% of all cases, companies would be better off to create an ultimate web-app (a website which is optimized for mobile) instead of creating apps for two or even three different platforms. Why do I need a Ryanair app to check in with my mobile? We need worldwide standards for mobile applications.
Mobile App Browser
Our internet connections are becoming faster and faster and in some countries of the world, data plans are already unlimited without the speed limit. Now is the time to set common mobile app standards. Google introduced nearly one year ago Instant Apps at their developer conference. They are still not out for non-developers. Google’s attempt is to let Google Play (the Android app store) preload the screen of the app instantaneously. This will allow you to order something in an e-commerce app without the needing to download it. Google’s approach is to preload a specific page of the app and if the user wants he can download the full app afterward. Here is my problem with that: apps are dead. Nobody is using more than a few apps in their daily life. I think Google and Apple should eliminate and kill applications within the next 3 years.
Creating a Web app standard
Google and Apple need to agree on a common web-app standard. As soon as the industry leaders agree on a common standard there is already the first huge advantage: companies don’t need to program apps for different platforms. Instead, apps will all be based on a common standard which browsers like Safari and Chrome will be able to open. The user experience of these standardized web applications will improve tremendously. Companies can spend their resources on developing one stable application instead of two mediocre apps for Android and iOS. All web browsers will, in addition, become app browsers. They will create a user experience which is similar to the current app experience. The app browser will also have the access and the possibilities to access the device storage, camera, or whatever is needed. Our internet connection speeds are faster than ever and with the introduction of 5G networks, they will improve furthermore. The result is the following: we can open any app worldwide within a single second without the need to download and install the app to our mobile phone. This will also raise the usage of unpopular apps.
Am I using the App regularly
Before I download an app today I ask myself the following question: “Will I use this app regularly?” If the answer is no I don’t even consider downloading the app. But sure I would use the app if there is no need to download and install it.
Let’s kill Apps as we know them
Google’s instant app idea is a great and good step in the right direction. I think we need to go a step further and eliminate the reality of installable apps. We should focus on developing web applications according to a common standard. These will excel the user experience of mobile web pages as we know the today and give users the same or even a superior user experience to today’s installable apps from the app stores.