Let me put it to you another way. Have you ever have walked into your local super store, be it a Walmart or Meijer (mid-westerners know what I'm talking about) for a specific product and left with an item or three you never intended? Maybe you had hand soap on your shopping list, but by the time you left, you had purchased an electric toothbrush, a couple of Xbox games on a 2-for-1 special, and maybe even a new riding lawnmower. Sure you have, yet you continue to shop there, not just for the prices, but for the near endless selection.
It's a numbers gameGesture Search comes to mind. Besides, isn't this what the whole ratings system is for?
Things aren't quite as robust on the Android side of the tracks, where unofficially the app count sits at over 50,000 (officially it's at 38,000). Even still, you'll have retired your smartphone long before you run out of new apps to play with, and that's part of the fun. This whole discovery process led me to a new devious game I now like to play, and it goes like this. When no one's looking, I whip out my G1, fire up Mosquito Sound, and select the 16.0kHz tone (frequencies range from 9.0kHz to 20kHz). The high pitch sound drives people bonkers while I look around innocently with a pair of headphones jammed into my ears (but not plugged in - that would defeat the purpose). Evil? Sure, but I never said the only benefits were noble ones.
Get your game onDungeon Hunter HD on my iPad, a fantastic time killer best described as a casual game in RPG trim. It wasn't particularly challenging, but the visuals were brought to life on the iPad's larger screen (compared to the iPhone version), and there was a enough Diablo-esque action to keep me interested all the way through. I didn't go searching for Dungeon Hunter, nor had I even known it existed (remember, I invested in the G1, not the iPhone). But what I did do was stumble upon it while browsing through Apple's vast catalog looking for nothing in particular. I've discovered quite a few games this way, some of which have remained on my mobile devices, while others have been whisked to the garbage bin.
What is the app experience all about?I want to squeeze the most value out of my mobile devices as I can, and to do that, the app experience has to be about more than just installing the top 16 or 32 apps. The ones on my smartphone today aren't likely to be there six months down the line, or even six weeks from now. Some won't make it six days. It depends on my mood, and because there are so many apps to choose from, with more being added every day, my singular device offers a dynamic experience, one that can grow, adapt, and evolve as I do the same. And even if I were to stick with just a handful of favorites for the life of my device, my tastes are likely to be different than yours. This ability to customize our mobile experience with a seemingly endless number of apps is the exact same concept that made Firefox so popular. Imagine if Mozilla weeded out the apps it thought sucked, leaving only the handful fan favorites. It would defeat the whole purpose of baking in an extension architecture, and you'd end up with Opera, an awesome browser in its own right, but nowhere near as flexible. The same is true of mobile devices and whatever app store accompanies them. As long as there's something for everyone, the overall userbase will continue to grow, which will in turn strengthen the platform.