90% Crap in the WP7 App Store? Probably.

 Paul Thurott recently wrote about an iPhone developer, Justin Williams, who had positive things to say about Windows Phone 7, here.  The gentleman in question said, however, that there were “…5000 apps, but 4990 of them are junk.” 

This may be so.  But of the multiple 100k apps in the Apple AppStore, how many of those are junk?  There comes to mind Sturgeon’s Law, the popular formulation of which states:

“Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Under this law, 90% of 5000 is 4500, which is close enough to Justin’s figure to make not much difference (plus, I don’t think he’s surveyed the entire field of WP7 apps), and so his contention about the crap in WP7 apps is pretty much to be expected.

Of course, my own 5 apps are not crap (hah), or so I try to tell myself.  Of course, one of them comes close, and that is “Just Sayin'”.  This was something that I threw together in merely a day, kind of just a throwaway, and it’s only gotten five downloads since its release on 11/24/2010.  I won’t go over what it does here, but if you’re interested, you can check it out here.

But it’s valuable to consider what quality apps we as developers could develop, instead of somewhat less than useful apps like Just Sayin’.  Or maybe, since games are the most popular kinds of things being downloaded, it might be valuable to consider coming with a good game!  Here my initiative fails me a little (although there is one game I used to play in the olden days of videogame parlors that I would love to recreate in WP7).

But I do have a utility-type app I’m working on for release possibly by the end of next week.  It’s a Ham Radio Exam practice app!  There was one already in the app store when I started.  And perhaps a series of Ham Radio utility apps would be pretty cool!  I’m still thinking about that one.

But something Justin wrote did indeed cause me pause:

The Windows Phone Marketplace just surpassed 5,000 apps, which is a nice milestone, but nowhere near the number of apps available on the other platforms. I tend to ignore the number of apps available in a store and rather focus on how much trouble I have finding apps I need or want.

Based on that metric, Windows Phone is lacking and more amateur hour than anything. So many of the apps feel like they were built in a weekend to test out the platform experience.

Now, I’ve spent a fair amount of time on all but one of my apps, so I wouldn’t call them mere testing projects.  But on the other hand, when I go down the list of apps in the store I don’t find many that really catch my fancy.  There are a number of unit conversion apps (and I guess I’ve temporarily abandoned my own converter), and a couple look pretty good; the others not so much.  There are a bunch of coin toss apps, too, but just how useful can that be?  I haven’t really run into any really compelling apps so far.  So I think Justin makes a good point.

But hopefully, given sufficient monkeys, this will eventually be remedied.

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