The rush to apps…

A little while ago, I noticed that if I tried to open a link to a major property website in Ireland, it insisted on sending me to an unknown protocol and demanded that I used its app.

The website in question has a website. It may not be completely pretty on a mobile browser, but you know, sometimes I am in a hurry. And when I am opening a link from an email either in an email application which has a local browser or from web readable email in something like Chrome or Safari, I expect the link to open. I don’t expect to be told the browser doesn’t recognise the protocol and I don’t expect to be told that the company has an app and then be redirected to the app store to get it.

I expect the page to open.

I realise there has been some serious bandwagoning around app development – but the problem is this. We’re moving to web based applications via a browser on desktops – slowly – but we’re getting there. To quote that nice Mr Randall Munro, at XKCD:


But we seem to be moving in the other direction on mobile. I don’t want 100 applications on my phone. I don’t need an app for every individual company whose website I wish to browse. Already, at least one company that I can think of (but won’t name) has an app which doesn’t even include the key functionality I need from that company. And they are still pushing me to use their app.

This is not stepping forward. It’s stepping backwards. If this is the future, I really, really don’t want it.

I have a browser for a reason.  I expect to be able to browse data on the web in it. I expect not to need a proprietary application per company to get at their online store front.