Everyone wants to boast about having the largest number of available apps for their mobile platform of choice, because it’s an easy bragging point. But what happens when a vast number are simply identikit clones?
There’s an excellent piece by Sheeds over at WPDownUnder relating to the exact numbers of apps available for the Windows RT platform. I’ve said my bit about WindowsRT before in plenty of places, but one key thing it needed was plenty of apps, because while it appears to be Windows 8-like in its visual presentation, the ARM core means it can’t run any actual Windows Software; it needs its own apps.
By WPDownUnder’s count, that comes to some 56,335 apps, which sounds like plenty.
But then there’s the other part of the story, which suggests that some 5,742 of those apps all come from the one developer in the form of “Fan” apps for various celebrities, all of which appear to be pulling from a central design. It’s entirely feasible they’re the same app, just digging search hooks in different online repositories.
WPDownUnder’s feature goes into more detail, so go and read it now!
What do I think of this? It’s a big problem for Microsoft, not just in the spread of actual available RT apps, but also in the perception of the platform as a whole. The reality is that every platform has its crapware.
There’s no shortage of apps that are essentially just web wrappers — something I strongly suspect the Apps in this case are — for other content.
But I can’t think of a platform where nearly ten per cent of the apps are this kind of cloning work. It’s fine to have a large number of apps to show off, because no one set of apps will suit every single user. It’s not fine, however, when a significant percentage of those apps not only do simple web work, but do so in a way that’s nearly endlessly duplicated.