Last fall Wolfram|Alpha launched its computational engine app for the iPhone and iPod Touch, and some sites took note that one fact didn’t compute – namely the $49.99 price for the app, especially when you consider that the Web site offers much of the same functionality for free.
So recently Wolfram|Alpha updated the app to version 1.1 and added some new specialized keyboards. These help you do things such as converting from pounds to euros, plus it adds some keyboard characters that are helpful for mathematical applications. In other words, the app’s update added some items that should have been there from the beginning. The question now is whether this all computes to a $49.99 price?
Well, the answer is it does, provided you need to do these sorts of calculations on the go. For most users it isn’t worth nearly $50, but the problem with so many apps is that the value for the good ones have been brought down by the free and seemingly useless ones. Consider the case with desktop software.
Applications such as Photoshop still cost hundreds of dollars, while there are plenty of free paint and photo retouching programs, plus many robust alternatives that cost a tenth of Photoshop. But for those people who need Photoshop, the others won’t do. So Photoshop is worth the $300+ price.
This is something tech bloggers, as well as app users need to understand. Quality apps take time and money to develop. Many apps have no other revenue stream than the cost of the app, so once a user buys it the company will get no other money from it. If users don’t pay for the quality, then they shouldn’t complain when the quality stops.
Newegg.com Launches Mobile Version
This week Newegg Inc. announced the launch of its new iPhone app, which allows customers to browse and shop from the online retailer. The free app is available now from the Apple App Store and it will allow consumers to take advantage of regular sales and discounts, including the “Shell Shocker specials” and “Daily Deals.” According to the company, all purchases made via the app are also routed through the same secure servers as those used by the traditional online site.
After Hours Apps of the Week:
Vanity Fair Hollywood App – While you probably won’t be walking down the red carpet on March 7, you can still offer you thoughts on who should take home the Oscar for Best Picture? Vanity Fair has launched a free iPhone app (available from the Apple App Store) so you can “cast” your ballot for this year’s Academy Awards. The Vanity Fair Hollywood app will let users make their predictions and share these with friends via Facebook. And the nominees are…
Rhyme Player – Why just listen to music when you can tap along with it and keep to the beat? Konami Digital Entertainment’s new app for the iPhone and iPod Touch make music interactive, as you can tap on the screen with the beat and the lyrics to such artists as the Jackson Five and Lady Gaga. You can get in tune now at the Apple App Store for $1.99.
Check back every Friday for the latest from the world of mobile apps.