• A possibly naive post about apps

    Now that I’ve had an iPad for three months and a Droid X for two days, I’m sold on apps. The idea of a little program for which you pay little to no money and that does one thing really well is appealing. In short: it works.

    I wish the rest of my computing experience did. In some ways I what it to be more like what I can get on my more portable devices. I want more apps. Why can’t I get them on my PC? Or can I?

    The PC is not all bad. I do like it for the web browsing and working experience. That’s what a big screen and a real keyboard does for me. They give me enough real-estate to get serious stuff done. And my PC browser (Chrome, thank you very much) has space for all the nice buttons and tabs I enjoy. Not so on my iPad or Droid. Those browsers are woefully under-spaced, and it shows.

    But, back to apps. I want them. Everywhere. Always. Not just on my phone and tablet. Can I? How?

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    • Well there is the Mac App store–but you of course need a Mac (running Snow Leopard) to access that.

      • @TimH – Right. Not gonna happen for me everywhere. PC at work for sure. At home I make do with whatever people give me secondhand. Maybe a Mac device will come my way. Right now it is all used PC laptops and one ancient desktop.

    • Austin, what kind of programs are you looking for on your PC? What makes apps so appealing is the portability of the phone/tablet, so having a GPS app that helps you find restaurants, for example, is not such a great thing on a desktop. Apps also help solve the issue of large websites that are difficult to navigate on a phone/tablet, and folks having limited data plans. Most “apps” can be duplicated on the PC at various websites. Kongregate.com for cheap/free games, for example.

      • @Wayne L – As one example, the restaurant finder urbanspoon is good enough that I’d like to use it on my PC. Fundamentally, and more broadly, the phone and tablet just organize these things better. The PC way of doing things is to go to different websites. If I had all my phone apps on my PC, I might choose to use them rather than browsing to a site. I might use my PC version rather than my phone version for a number of reasons: phone out of reach, phone out of juice, I’m on the phone, it’s just faster if my mouse is already in hand.

        You’re right about large websites. They’re hard to deal with on the PC too. Apps are focused tools. That’s one thing I like about them.

        • … and then there are things I do on my PC that I wish were more app-like. Right now I’m going through the multi-step process of getting remote library access from my academic affiliate. It’s a big pain. Wish there was an app for that!

    • Many of the equivalent apps that you would use on the PC are available within the Browser. E.g., You say that you use Chrome, have you been to the Chrome WebStore? https://chrome.google.com/webstore

      A lot of the “apps” in this store are simply redirecting you to powerful ‘cloud’ based apps or are apps written in the HTML5. But the point here is that the Chrome browser becomes your window into PC-based Apps.

      For instance, to follow RSS blog feeds … try out: Feedly

      Unless you’ve changed the default settings, a new Chrome tab will show the list of Apps that you’ve installed.

      J Schmoe

    • It is funny you mention Urbanspoon. The Urbanspoon website has information for my large city (I use it regularly), but the app (that I just downloaded to test) did not list my city at all. I guess that’s the whole thrust, as you alluded to; the web will always have much more blunt information out there, but apps are handy in their scalpel nature.