The “There Aren’t Enough Apps” Mantra
Ever since Windows Phone Mango brought a huge amount of features that many were missing from the original release, the general mantra of those unwilling to switch to Windows Phone full time has been “There Aren’t Enough Apps”. Of course, that’s a relative term though and compared to the app library on the iPhone and Android Markets the Windows Phone Marketplace certainly doesn’t have quite as high of an app count.
But how many is enough? Have you installed and used every single app in the Windows Phone Marketplace? The count is growing faster than the iOS and Android app libraries and is on its way to 100,000 apps. Still, according to some authors like Janet Tu of the Seattle Times, the current 80,000 app count is not enough. Often when people use this “there aren’t enough apps” excuse, they don’t even know which apps they’re missing.
Luckily when David Pogue repeats the “No Apps” mantra in his Nokia Lumia 900 review, he actually lists a handful of apps that he was looking for and wasn’t able to find. Many users might look at his list and realize that they’ve never heard of those apps or don’t even care about using them, but at least he added some specifics.
What’s worse is that many repeaters of the “There Aren’t Enough Apps” mantra (especially the ones that actually know which specific apps they really want) don’t know about all of the alternatives that may function just as well as the iOS/Android versions… or in the case of something like the “4th and Mayor” app alternative to Foursquare, a Windows Phone app might actually be much better than an official equivalent on other platforms. Even Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak actually found that “every screen is much more beautiful than the same apps on Android and iPhone.” So even though there is a difference in quantity which is considered a negative point about Windows Phone, there’s certainly a difference in beauty which should be a positive point for Windows Phone but is often ignored.
Many tech authors and commenters who repeat the “There Aren’t Enough Apps” mantra also forget to look at Windows Phone exclusive apps that have no equivalent on other platforms. For example, Bing’s integrated music search is faster and easier than Shazam or any other music tagging app on other platforms. The Xbox Companion lets you control and browse Xbox content then play it on your TV unlike anything else. Many Windows Phone games have very unique and entertaining connections to counterparts on the Xbox 360 as well and I’ve never seen anything like Wordament on any other phone. Then there are unique apps made by each Windows Phone manufacturer. Most notable are things like Nokia’s City Lens augmented reality app, “Drive” with free global map offline map data for Nokia customers, and Creative Studio for photo manipulation.
There aren’t enough apps for Macintosh computers either, but many people seem to be okay with those. At the end of the day, what really matters is whether the platform has enough apps for you personally. If you see other authors or commenters blindly repeating the “There Aren’t Enough Apps” mantra, be sure to ask them to clarify by listing the ones they’re looking for and ask why the 80,000 alternatives weren’t good enough. You’ll either get a blank stare, or some tangible and reasonable areas for improvement.
Meanwhile, feel free to share in the comments which apps or functionality you’re still hoping to come to Windows Phone.