Apps are fascinating, and they are multiplying by the thousands to make smartphones and tablets more meaningful. A year or so ago, I spent a day at Yahoo's hackathon with geeks who devised many interesting apps, including one which helped track blood donors through social media.
On a lark, I sat with a couple of programmers and developed a crude app that helped radio jockeys extract interesting information on songs and movies from YouTube and other sites to get an instant script of sorts to yak about.
This year's Hyderabad hackathon featured several interesting apps, one of which helped small units manage work-forces through missed calls and SMS messages.
Another called "Bachao" uses smartphones' accelerometers to track a user's location in the event of a car accident and alert emergency services. Yet another uses artificial intelligence to predict upcoming stock values in the market (making algorithm-based trading out of vogue in a way).
While such apps are fascinating — and surely of world-changing potential — the other big issue is: Where will these apps go in terms of business potential?
Like great books, great apps can go unnoticed or not realise their full potential unless there is a better "ecosystem" to support them. I think we need a new class of companies that will help apps build full social and business systems around them along with processes and financials.
I still think the app distribution and its marketing are too vague.
Also, there are too many 'me-too' apps trying to do similar things. What a waste of energy! Apps now need to look beyond the obvious and become sophisticated and complex at the back-end while being simple at the front end. There is more to apps than smart bundles of code!