15 May 2013 redi   » (Master)

There should be an app for that pt. 92

Sometimes you install an app for your phone that works well and does what it says on the tin. At a later date you install an update which introduces some serious problem that turns your phone to a slow, creaking, unusable heap of crap (Roaming Angel from Orange, I'm looking at you) or simply removes all the useful functionality (I'm told this happened to First Direct banking on the go).

The app's "star rating" in the marketplace might appear average, but if you look in more detail you'll see the ratings are almost all polarised, giving either one or five stars. If you look into it in even more detail you'll see that the older reviews give it five stars but all the recent reviews give only one star. The app has rotted.

App stores should weight ratings so that every time the app is updated all older ratings have less weighting than ratings since the update. Another alternative would be to show a chart of ratings against time, so you can tell if the rating is dropping over time and see at a glance that the average rating dropped suddenly at a particular time.

But that wouldn't help existing users of the app, who are unlikely to go and check the popularity of apps they've already installed, and may not realise which app update made their phone slow to a crawl. Someone should write an app that tracks the rating of all your installed apps and warns you if any of them suddenly gets worse according to the reviews in the app store, so you can remove the rotten apps. The app should be called Rotten Apps (Rotten Apples is unlikely to get past the censors in Cupertino) or Approbrium. You're welcome. I'll accept royalties for this idea in cash or beer.

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