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Are Apps Passe Already?

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OK, so the last time I think I posted to this blog, I was regaling you with the heroic feats of my RunPee app.  And today, I’m hearing and reading that The App may be going the way of the Cottontop Tamarin.
An old college pal of mine ran into some CurrentMarketing folks at Kentucky Derby Festival’s annual board retreat last month.  She asked if we could reprise our developer role (if you’re not a regular reader, we created an App for the Festival earlier this year) to create an app for her school’s student body.  It would re-purpose content on internally-used websites.  So, while apps are always cool and trendy, what she really needs is a mobile-friendly version of her website.
Seems that’s becoming the norm rather than the exception.
The CurrentMarketing Interactive Team recently decided that the objective of some Apps for marketing purposes could be better achieved with mobile-enabled websites.
According to Nielsen, the smart phone share of the total mobile market is about 25%.  And within that quarter-pie slice, you have BlackBerry®, iPhone, Google, Palm and Microsoft® brands slugging it out.  Each with its own platform requiring developers to replicate programming or ignore completely as smaller fragments.
When you take that 25% smartphone market…oh, wait, it’s up to 26% now (my, how quickly these things move)…and add in all other web-enabled devices, you’re now pushing 30% of the mobile market.  Speaking to one-in-three is much more appealing than 9% (Blackberry) or 7% (iPhone).  Right?
Hello, mobile-friendly.
While the investment in content generation will still be there, mobile-friendly sites require a fraction of the programming investment of an App.  Users may have issues with a mobile-friendly site in bad reception zones, but updates wouldn’t be necessary.
There are many other plusses and minuses and I’m betting the debate will continue.
Now, I’m not saying all Apps can be replaced by mobile-friendly.  Not yet at least.  But I’m betting the Cottontop Tamarin thought she’d be safe in the treetops for a long time to come.
So what do you think?  Where do you see the future of the App as a marketing tool?

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Ed Sharp

Ed brings 15 years of traditional and digital media sales experience to the agency, giving us a perspective most agencies don’t have. When he’s not working or seeking new knowledge, Ed hangs out with his wife, two kids, two dogs, one cat, and a hamster. And yes, the cat and hamster are best friends.

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