My Phone is Full!

My phone is full!

Clarification:The article I read did indeed state 1.2 billion apps, the actual number is closer to 1.5 million, and 700,00 for Google Play

So reading an article online, it says that most Americans download zero apps every month. And there’s 1.2 billion apps in the App Store, and probably a little slightly less in Google Play, but certainly millions. But 65% of US smartphone users don’t download any new apps; so no new games, no new apps, nothing. So what happens to those of us who try to make our living pushing these games and apps and everything else? There’s got to be a better solution. It’s just flooded. And I’ve tried for more than a year to get some of my apps out there. One of them is only doing anything at all, and the amount that I’m making a day is very embarrassing. So it’s something that has to change.

What’s going to happen, I think, and if you look at what Google is trying to do; they’re talking about streaming apps. Streaming apps means that you don’t have to download them, or at least not completely, it goes into a temporary buffer or something. But you can still use the app, at least somewhat. I’m not sure if all the features are still going to be there because if you’re not downloading you can really have local storage and a lot of the features. But what I’m thinking; what’s best for us to do because most of us entrepreneur, game maker type people can’t fight Google, or can’t outdo Google when it comes to app streaming. But we can always go back to the good old standby of web apps and web games.

But with mobile being so prevalent, we have to adapt for that, we have to build for that. Most sites, including the one that I was working for for the last four years have struggled to try to adapt anything to mobile. And I feel that a lot of them have given up. But for me going forward, I’m finding that the app stores want to very constricting; both Google and Apple, particularly Apple. And I’m not blaming them for this because I understand about the quality control; and you get a lot more polished apps in Apple sometimes than you do in Google Play. They’re very particular about what they put in there; not terribly particular because there’s 1.2 billion apps. And out of 1.2 billion apps, there’s got to be some turkeys in the lot; but they do have a review process and people are reviewing. And I’ve had apps that, were not necessarily rejected but they were temporarily rejected until you fix this kind of thing; and then it always went fine. Usually I didn’t have a problem with it, but it was so much longer, took a lot of production time to make something for Apple, even though I was using the same code that I was using for Android.

So there are a lot of things that I have to do for both Apple and Google. You have to get approval, and if they change the rules; like right now what I use to make the apps on Google Play was Adobe Air, and because I come a Flash background, so it was very easy for me to put that code into Air. And I have about 20 apps up there right now, they all have either be unpublished or recompiled because they say that there’s a new security thing or something. About every six months I have to update it simply because there’s a new version of Air or Open Oath, I think it is O-A-T-H. But in any case it means that I’ve got to recompile.

So I’ve got to do a lot of things by their rules, and the rules are there for a reason and I’m not blaming them. But in the old days when we could just put up a website, we didn’t need anybody’s permission, we just did it. And I think that’s kind of how we’re going to have to go back to doing, at least that’s what I’m going to do. Now it’s a gamble but I feel a lot better having a lot of control over it. Even with the back end, a lot of people have to use the Google Play and things like that. It’s great because people don’t have to log in and things like that. But at the same time I’d like to have more control over my own system. So we don’t need approval and people don’t have to install anything.

Now it’s a bit harder to get people to play on the mobile browser than it is to download, but it is getting increasingly difficult for them to download as well. So I’m betting that maybe, just maybe, it has become easier to get them to try a mobile game. Because you just click on a like from Facebook, or wherever, and it opens up the browser and there’s the game. And there’s no problem. If they don’t like it they close the browser, nothing’s been installed. I’m a little limited. I can’t use a lot of the features that are on the phones. In some ways that’s good though because there are so many different phones, just like there are so many different browsers. But most of the browser problems have solutions to them nowadays. After years and years of people poking around, getting the CSS to work on every browser and getting the java script to work on every browser.

That’s still better form than it is for using anything on Android, anyway. Usually anything you build for Apple will work on all devices. But even using something like Air, it’s hard to get them to work exactly they way you want it on every single device. And there’s still some problems with the web on that, too, but it’s a lot easier for me to open up the browser in the correct size to test it. I don’t have to buy 50 devices to test on. I mean, not that I did when I’m doing the Air. I’ve got two Android phones, one Android tablet, a MAC, a PC; which is what I work on most of the time; and I have an iPad that I’ve used mostly for testing; but the features are starting to grab me so I’m using that a lot more just because I like the bigger screen. Which, by the way, is harder to develop for.

But I was trying to develop web apps back in 2006, and web apps were all the rage at the time. It was kind of a short lived rage, but web apps were a big thing. People didn’t want to download. Google had just put out Google docs like a year or two earlier, and it was a big thing. So I was trying to be number one on Google for web apps. And I think I had trouble on Google and I was doing okay on Yahoo because Yahoo was an acceptable search engine at the time; as far as wanting to get rankings. So I kept getting to number one on Yahoo, but the one that kept knocking me off the top spot was Apple. And whenever I searched on web apps, Apple came up. And this was probably a little bit later; 2007/2008; it was soon after the iPhone came out, whenever that was. But Apple was competing for the turf of web apps, but Apple didn’t build web apps. Or maybe it was just the key word apps.

In any case, people turned away from web apps and to downloading mobile. And before that, because I’ve been using computers since 1984, I believe, so I’ve been using computers for quite a long time. I’ve been programming since I got my first computer. So for about 30 years, I’ve been working with programming and computers. And originally everything was on the hard drive or in the memory; because my first computers didn’t have hard drives; but it was on the machine. And then as time went by, eventually things started moving to the web more and more. The early websites were just pictures and links and occasional gif animations. And then it started to evolve and we were able to actually do things online. And the web apps were starting to take over. So everything was moving away from desktop applications to the web. Then everything started moving away from the web to mobile and back to a local memory system, a local device.

And now I think it’s going to shift again, and it’s going to shift from being on a local device, back to sort of a cloud situation, just on the web. But I think it’s going to be mobile web because people’s phones are full. My phone is full. The one that I primarily use, the one that I carry with me, and actually the one I just used for testing as well. What happens is, I get the apps that I want to use and I don’t want to delete those.

I mean I will just open it up and tell you what I’ve got. I’ve got what I feel are the essentials. I mean I have Facebook, which maybe isn’t essential, but most people have that. And actually I do a lot of business with Facebook, so for the entrepreneurial stuff, then it’s essential. So I’ve got just one or two of my own games on here that I use for testing. But I’ve got Facebook, I’ve got Pocket, Google Sheets, a lot of Google Apps; you know the Mail and the Maps and everything that come with it; I’ve got Kindle for my books, I’ve got Evernote, I’ve got a lot of other Facebook apps on here; Page Manager, Facebook Ads, and I might delete those soon, I’ve got my Udemy, which I love to use for learning, especially if I’m stuck somewhere I like to be productive, Google Analytics and AdSense.

So none of those I really want to delete and a couple of days ago I had more apps on there, like I had 2048 and I deleted that; and one of the reasons I deleted it was because there’s an excellent online version that works exactly as it does on the desktop as on the phone. And there’s no memory being taken up if I play it online. But as soon as I deleted that and a couple of other apps; and the reason I deleted those was because I wanted to download a new game to check it out, or some new apps, I was installing Google Sheets and I needed room. But as soon as I did that, the system saw ‘oh you’ve got some free memory, there’s seven apps that need to be updated.’ Evernote, a lot of the Google Apps need to be updated. So it needed to be updated, so they all updated. And then all of that room that I got, I deleted four apps, and I installed one and now my phone is full again. So every time an app is improved, it gets bigger because they just add existing code; that’s how it works. I mean, sometimes we developers will take out a piece of code, but usually that means removing a feature. And unless the feature’s really not being used and it takes a lot of engineers to support it or something, that’s when we get rid of it. But for the most part we leave the features in and we just keep adding.

So every time something is updated, it gets bigger. So my phone is full. And even if I uninstall a couple of apps and take all of my mp3’ off, because I do download a podcast every night and then I clean it off my phone periodically; and I take pictures but I pull those off the phone to save room. So even if I do that, my phone’s going to get full. And they’ll make bigger phones with bigger memories, but those are going to get full, too. Because people are going to keep taking pictures and they are going to keep downloading podcasts and they’re going to keep downloading more apps. But you have to choose what you want to keep. And you have to really really want to play a new game to be able to do it because then you have to uninstall something, hope the system doesn’t fill it up, and then download that and play it.

And so I think that it’s going to go back to web. And even if it doesn’t, I don’t see any reason for me not to start going into mobile web. Because it’s mostly an untapped market. There are a couple of html5 game places doing it but not heavily. I mean there certainly aren’t as many sites as there are apps. They’re not as many web friendly application sites; so mobile web apps or mobile web games; as there are in the App Store. There’s not as many web app or web game sites as there are games or apps in Google Play. So I feel the competition is less. And it is terribly terribly difficult to get anything to the top of Apple or Google. And it’s hard to get downloads unless you’re willing to pay a lot.

Now I don’t mind paying some, but I don’t have a lot of money. I certainly don’t have million dollar budgets like some of the companies I’ve seen do. So I think I would rather be a bigger fish in a smaller pond. In any case I think doing something that less people are doing, that people still will want, is better than trying to do just like everybody else. Great leaders didn’t do like everybody else. Now I don’t know that I’ll be a great leader or not, but I think I’ve got a better chance with a smaller line and less people screaming. Until, that is, the mobile web fills up as well, and it gets saturated with developers. But for now I can be ahead of the game.