Why App Stores Work

by Tavis J. Hampton

It seems everyone wants an app store now. You cannot turn on the TV or the web and not see or hear someone talking about apps and app stores. A lot of the app store popularity is due to Apple and the iPhone App Store, but Apple was by no means the first to introduce the concept. It was Apple’s persistent marketing that has ignited the app store craze.

Why do app stores work? Is it just a fad, or is there some deeper fundamental benefit to them? To truly understand why they work, you need to understand how they work. Regardless of whether it is Apple’s app store, Android Marketplace, Google Chrome Web Store, Adobe AIR Marketplace or a gaming service like Steam, the concept is still the same. The app store acts as a central repository for third-party applications, allowing the developers to showcase their content and even sell their apps within the store interface.

When it comes time for installation, you do not need to visit the developer’s website, download files, extract them, and run an installation program. All you have to do is click “install”, “get”, “buy” or whatever the final button on your device says. The rest is automated. In many cases, future updates are also automated within the app store.

The concept is something that Linux distributions have used for decades. With a centralized APT or YUM repository, a Linux user can install any application available for the distribution. These repositories, however, were traditionally only for free software. But the concept still works with purchases, and app stores are flourishing as a result.

Here are six more reasons apps stores work:

1. Time Saver – No more scanning the shelves of a software store or searching the web for the perfect shareware. Your app for your phone, tablet, computer, or even TV is right at your fingertips.

2. User Reviews and Popularity Data – Popular things tend to gain even more popularity just because they are popular. People like to know what apps others like.

3. Trusted Source – If you remember the 90s, you remember the spyware and adware explosion, when it seemed like every other program was malware. With an app store, the company responsible for it has verified the authenticity and safety of the app.

4. Easier Updates – No longer do you have to manually update each application one-by-one. Many app stores will push out updates the same way operating systems do.

5. Connected Feeling – Everything is integrated within the device. There is no need to go outside of your comfort zone to find software. People like that.

6. Easy Browsing – People, both men and women, like browsing the aisles (albeit in different aisles). Sometimes searching for exactly what you want does not work because you may not know what you want. App stores are great for browsing and finding tools and entertainment you may not have even considered.

According to dedicated host 34SP.com, the Apple App Store currently has over 350,000 available apps and has counted over 10 billion downloads, and there is no sign of slowing down. If anything, we can expect to see more apps, more app stores, and more devices adopting the concept in the future. Apple is now already trying to bring the app store model back to desktop computing, with a repository similar to Linux distributions. Third-party app stores, such as Amazon’s store for Android, will also begin to take root. There are more than six reasons why app stores work, but one thing is undeniable. They work and work well.

Tavis J. Hampton is a freelance writer and author of The Golden Scrolls. He has over a decade of experience with professional writing on a wide variety of topics, from free and open source software to real estate.