No, you don't need an App
Apps are very “in” at the moment, as they have been for a few years now, and some companies think they haven’t quite made it, until they have their own App.
The truth however is that you don’t need an App. In 90% of cases, it’s a waste of money and a huge overhead for the future.
The key however is to understand exactly what an App is and what an App isn’t.
In research for this blog post, I found the line between old-generation Apps and modern Websites blurring even more.
In the past I would have said that you only needed an App if you were going to be accessing the core phone components such as the Camera, Video Camera, and Accelerometer.
However, in recent times that’s no longer a valid excuse.
With the rise of HTML5, we can now quite easily add code to our websites that accesses these components.
For a longer time we have access to the phones GPS. You might have noticed this if you were on your phone trying to find a chain store, and the website would ask you if it could use your GPS so it can find the closest store.
But now we can make feature packed websites that access the phones Camera to upload photos, record Audio and even the Accelerometer to see if you are shaking the phone up and down, or in circles.
Ok, what about if we need the data available off-line, we could package it in an App.
While this is true, it presents more problems than it solves.
First of all, with the increase of WiFi (often free) and 3 and 4G networks, we are living in a world where “not connected” is becoming rarer and rarer.
The main problem that this causes though, is data currency.
What use is an App with out of date information?
The current average turnaround time for an update to an Apple App, is 10 days. What this means, is that if you just released a media release or exciting new opportunity, this wont appear on the App for at least 10 days.
And that’s only for the Apple store, you also need to maintain a version of your app for the fast growing Android market.
So now you are maintaining a website, and two separate Apps, all with differing information and release schedules.
So no, you don’t need an App, you just need a well-designed and executed Website.