I’ve only been experimenting and learning about app development for 3 days but i’m already wandering off to the app store seeing if my ideas are already ‘taken’. Sure enough, most of them are…
The problem with simple apps
The problem with a simple app is that it’s most likely already been created because it’s easy for the rookie developers like myself to create. I had an idea for a ‘referee’ app which would allow the user to blow a whistle and issue yellow and red cards. I thought that would be pretty simple, but different. Turns out it’s not different at all, there are several of them already out there… and that’s frustrating but in many ways i’m used to it. It’s like coming up with domain names – you can come up with a fantastic name, but the chances are it will be taken, even if it’s not in use. So you’re constantly going back to the drawing board.
Beating the competition
Many apps are paid so although it would be cut throat, you could just replicate an app making it look slightly better and with more features, then make it free to download in order to dominate that particular niche. You could introduce paid versions or paid features at a later date based on feedback. It’s always easier being the first to come up with an app though. Buzz is stronger, novelty value is stronger… look at the father ted app in the app store at the minute. So simple even i could have done that with what limited skills i have already, yet it’s the top paid app in Ireland at the minute. It has novelty value and that’s why it works, no other reason. It’s unique, it’s funny… would i pay €0.79 for it? No, but obviously plenty of other people are.
Just like in anything, when something or someone succeeds or indeed fails, you can choose to ignore it or learn from it. Although i always get that “why didn’t i think of that?” feeling after i see every new successful app and website crop up, i tend to use them as inspiration and examples of what can work… the father ted app being a great example. Stupidly simply but it works. It sells, it gets people talking or laughing.
Equally, if an app appears to be dead or not going anywhere, i have to ask why that is. Is it just a poor app or is it lack of interest? Answering those kind of questions really helps me filter through ideas quickly.