Five things I hate about Mobile Applications

There has been a lot of talk about the application economy and how has it changed the consumption of mobile internet. The contribution of application stores towards making applications a huge success cannot be ignored. However, there is still room for improvement and below is my list of five things that I hate about applications:

1. Applications are lost on change of handsets: Mobile phones, unlike computers, are changed much more frequently by the users and in many cases they are changed within a year. Users download applications over a period of time and start to store critical data on the applications. However, when they change their handsets, the applications cannot be transferred to the new handset. The users have to download the applications again which is not only a waste of time but can also be expensive in case of paid applications. Moreover, the data stored via applications on the old handset is lost forever. If the mobile ecosystem does not pay immediate attention to this problem, then it is possible that in future people would just not download paid applications or would not care to download applications all together.

2. Frequent updates to applications: The developers keep adding the functionality all the time and push the updated applications to the end users as software updates. For heavy application users, at any given point of time, there are applications waiting to be updated. Imagine if the applications were hosted on the web instead of being native, then there would have been no need for the application to be updated all the time. A cache version could have been used at times when the connectivity is not available.

3. Portability across platforms: All the applications are platform or OEM specific. Applications that work on iPhone do not work on Nokia and that work on Nokia do not work on Android. The cost of cross platform development is high and on top of that the application store owners act as gatekeepers to the applications which means that there is a possibility that an application may not be able to make it to all the application stores. Moreover, the user experience on the same application is not the same across different operating systems. As a consumer, I do not want to be tied down to any one specific handset brand to be able to use my favorite application.

4. Links do not open inside application: Today, when I use any application, the links open up in the mobile browser and not within the application. This is very annoying and a very big reason why the mobile application advertising has not taken off in a big way. Steve Jobs has talked about this issue but I do not see things changing anytime soon. Toggling between the mobile browser and application is a pain and many a times, I do not open the link unless I really find the description interesting

5. Applications drain the battery fast: Most of the applications are not optimized to low power consumption. By following a simple rules, the applications can be much more energy efficient which the application stores completely ignore while acting as gatekeepers. I need to charge my phone many times in a day to be able to use the applications or simply need to switch off the applications to conserve energy for voice. For me voice takes precedence over applications but then I am not able to take full advantage of the applications. I believe, it is the combined responsibility of the operating systems, OEMs and developers to make Green Applications that consume less power. OEM on their part should look to increase the battery capacity that can do justice to the high end phones.

This was my hate list of applications. Do comment on what you hate the most about the applications.

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