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Archive: September 16, 2014

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where are the desktop apps?

Tuesday,  09/16/14  08:28 PM

So, where are the desktop apps?  I'm confused.

Windows appsWe all know, mobile app ecosystems are all the rage now.  Everything has to have an Apple app and an Android app.  In mobile there's a definite trend in favor of native user interfaces for speed and usability.  Every website has to have mobile apps also, and any site with *only* a web interface is considered behind.  Yet ... nobody feels this way about the desktop.  Nothing has to have an OS X app and a Windows app.  There's no trend on desktops in favor of native user interfaces, despite the fact that they have an even bigger advantage in speed and usability over web apps.  No website is considered behind if they don't have a desktop interface.  Weird.

Consider Facebook.  On mobile platforms everyone uses their apps, not their website.  But on the desktop everyone uses the web interface, they don't even have desktop apps.  Same thing for Twitter.  And Instagram.  And LinkedIn.  And Google search.  And eBay.  Amazon don't have a desktop app.  Nor do Macy's, or Overstock, or Buy.com.  Where are the mapping apps for the desktop?  I challenge you to name one website which has a desktop app.

It isn't any harder to create desktop apps than mobile apps.  They use the same technology, and have the same advantages in speed and usability.  Late-model operating systems like OS X Snow Leopard and Win 8 have app stores for the desktop, just like iTunes and Google Play for mobile apps.  But they're ghost towns.  I don't get it.

Mac appsI grant you that there are more mobile devices than desktops, and the mobile market is growing faster.  But the Windows and Mac desktop user communities are by no means negligible.  Furthermore people are more willing to invest in apps on desktops than they are on mobile.  Compare the prices of Microsoft Office or Adobe Creative Suite on the desktop against their mobile brethren.  So in addition to user experience, websites are leaving money on the table.

When I look at the mobile apps I use most often, for each there is a corresponding website which I use on my desktop.  And in each case a native app would improve the user experience.  Facebook.  LinkedIn.  Yelp.  Twitter.  Strava.  OpenTable.  Etc etc etc.  Yet none of these companies have or are working on desktop apps.

What's even stranger?  Most of these websites have APIs, so third-party developers could jump in to fill the void by creating third-party desktop apps.  But these are rare.  TweetDeck is the only one that even comes to mind.  Not only has the opportunity of creating desktop apps eluded websites, it has escaped independent developers also.

It's confusing.  Where are the desktop apps?

 
 

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where are the desktop apps?