Apple boasts that its App Store for iPhone and iPod touch devices offers over 100,000 different applications, while the Android Market for Android phones now offers more than 20,000. There’s some great stuff nestled away in the categories of these revolutionary digital stores, but there’s also a great deal of stuff which is no use to anybody. Just about any App Store user has had an idea for an application that would make their life much easier. So, they open up the App Store, compose a search – and no such official application appears to exist. This isn’t just true with the App Store, but with every other store on the market.
Of course, if you’re tech-savvy enough, you may want to start to design and program that perfect app that is currently unavailable. Unfortunately, the average technology user isn’t graced with the magical powers of programming their own applications, resulting in many of their ideas being scrapped. Thankfully, for those less technology-orientated users, or for geeks who don’t specialize in the area of programming, AppBoy is here.
I learned about this website while watching the BBC’s technology program, Click. The website allows those users who have an idea for a non-existent app, who can’t or don’t want to make that idea a reality themselves, submit their idea to the website. Once registered, you can send the idea, with a title, the category it resides in, an overall description of its purpose, the language it would be in and the platform or platforms it would be available for (pick from iPhone, Pre, BlackBerry and Android), along with any images of designs you may have in mind.
It is then displayed publicly on the website. The submitter can then start informing friends, family and work colleagues about the idea, and begin to promote the idea in any way they can think of – most probably via the internet. They would direct the audience to AppBoy, where they could vote for the application. In short, this means they are showing an interest in what the application would do and what its capabilities and functions would be.
If the application idea gets enough interest, the team at AppBoy will make the application a reality, and you don’t have to do anything else. Your reward: a check for $250. Now that the theory of the site is out of the way, let’s start to take a look at it.
The website is well designed and has a very user-friendly and professional interface (which is encouraging for anybody considering to submit an idea). Voting is easy, meaning there’s a likely chance that somebody you’ve told about your idea would set aside a few minutes of their time to log onto the site and commend it. Perhaps the most difficult part is getting your idea noticed – there are quite a few application ideas uploaded to the site each day, so it’s difficult to get your idea seen without a lot of promotion. Even then, promoting your idea can be difficult, and unless you’ve got a lot of friends or you’ve got a platform upon which you’re widely noticed, it can be difficult to get recognized.
Of course, for having an idea for something that is going to make your life more entertaining or easier, and doing little more than letting people know about it, $250 isn’t too bad, especially considering that your application is going to be developed, and you get the satisfaction of having this app with the capabilities you’ve always wanted on the appropriate platform. I think that the concept is fantastic and is an example of how every area of technology can be made social: it’s a site I’d like to call a mini social platform for innovation.
The site has a blog and a Twitter account, allowing you to keep up-to-date with all of the latest applications that AppBoy has released. The search tool means that you can browse apps for a particular mobile device, or all of them. You can also rate the applications offered. The only down-side for the submitter of the idea is that, as far as I can see, after they receive their $250 check, they receive no further payment or cut into the profits made from the sales. For all I understand that the creator of the idea puts no further input or effort into the actual development of the application, without their innovation and idea, the app would never have existed. Some would prefer to go to private designers where they could negotiate a better price or a cut into the profits.
Overall, I feel it’s a great site comprising of a favorable user interface and has a neat feel about it. It has a good concept, and above all, it’s nice and simple. If you’re a developer yourself, AppBoy also has tools to help you promote and make money from your applications.
What is your dream app? Which app store do you use? Have you used AppBoy before? What is your experience with them? Did you like the application they created? Do you have an opinion about the site? Let us know, in a comment.