The commoditization of mobile technology is no longer hot news. We have witnessed the transformation of mobile phones, in general, and smartphones, in particular, into accessible pieces of equipment. Not only that, but those same gadgets now have firm positions in daily routines, both business-oriented and personal. What is rather novel, however, is the commoditization of apps.
The mobile application market has become a playground that all brands, whether corporate or personal, wish to play in. Perhaps wish is the wrong word–need may be more applicable. And this need is derived from the drastic alteration in information consumption that the Internet, and all its digital and mobile companions, caused and continues to cause. We all know the buzzwords of the digital space: Quick, easy, viral, snippet (and many more). They all point towards a spectrum of virtual locations that are overflowing with information, leading us to the classic conclusion of our inability to register all. In the midst of vast amounts of actors, each brand struggles through the battle between a necessity for common placement and the subsequent desire to stand out. All brands must be on the playground, they are required to be where the consumers (followers, lovers, etc.) are; however, with the arrival of all comes the visibility of few.
Now, brands yearn for some serious face-time and by face-time I mean the consumer acknowledgement of their existence–or, better yet, a resulting devotion. This personal connection is a concept which can be interpreted in numerous ways, from the uniqueness of a social profile to the so-called authenticity of a brand image or voice. And that personality can now be upheld by an app, the same way that websites and social channels have done. Everyone has to have a website. Everyone has to have a social profile. And, now, it seems that everyone must have an app.
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Many critics cite motives similar to “jumping on the bandwagon” when speaking of the unrelinquishing determination of brands to create apps, to be on the market. Indeed, there are many cases in which a negativity is attached to the creation of apps, represented by statements regarding the lack of knowledge (on the brand side) or high costs (on the tech side) that are common in app development. However, this is the playground of today. Consumers consume information in this manner–in swipes and icons–and we are at the point where all brands wish–again, need–to play.
Well, if past is truly prologue (as Shakespeare once wrote), then proliferation and saturation are inescapable, followed by differentiation and commoditization. The most intriguing aspect of this imminent future is that commoditization may be the evolution that allows for greater focus to be placed on differentiation. This is where on-demand app builders find their market. With an increased attainability in app development comes less resources spent on distribution and more spent on content.