Failure Of A Smartphone App - Probable Causes
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Failure Of A Smartphone App: Probable Causes

Hussain Fakhruddin - January 6, 2014 - 0 comments

Even experienced app developers can go wrong on various counts, while creating a brand new mobile application. Nearly 70 per cent of all apps remain unsuccessful, and we here present some probable causes behind their failure.




Global research studies have shown, about 7 out of every 10 newly launched mobile apps turn out to be loss-making ventures for the developers. A wide range of factors can contribute to the ultimate failure of a smartphone app- even if the basic features of the latter are not particularly bad. With the incidence of mobile app failures around the world being so high, a look at the probable underlying causes for the same would be in order:


  1. A ‘me-too’ application – If there are similar apps to the one you have developed (and if they are already popular enough) – it can become almost impossible to get enough market for your new application. Most such ‘me-too’ apps do not manage to provide any viable reason why people should switch over to it, and leave the app they had been using earlier. It is always advisable to prepare a unique app, which would be easy to promote.

  2. Tacky, troublesome functional features – In a bid to make new apps visually charming and have a host of functions, executives from several mobile application development companies have ended up making apps that were far from user-friendly. There are many smartphone apps whose framework and functions range from plain boring to extremely complicated – and they invariably do not find any favor among buyers.

  3. Not attractive enough – The earlier point, however, does not under-emphasize the importance of sleek mobile app designing in any way. In fact, the images and screenshots of a new application have to capture the attention of prospective users – for the app to stand any chance of being a hit. Depending on the genre of the app that is being developed, the right mix of colors, designs and overall layout has to be determined. If quality is kept constant, a good-looking app always sells more!

  4. The app does not address a particular requirement – With the tools and techniques used for Blackberry, Android and iphone app development in India evolving at a rapid pace, most new apps have a dash of creativity about them. However, even the most innovative app idea can prove to be worthless, if it does not solve a particular requirement/problem of people. For instance, mobile apps like Droidfart and Crush or Flush were ‘different’ enough, but they were of no practical use to anyone.

  5. Poor speeds – This generally occurs when app developers in India do not bother checking the bandwidth requirements of their mobile applications. An app that takes up a large amount of memory space/bandwidth is almost sure to be rather slow. The overall speed of the smartphone on which it has been installed might also be affected. While testing an app, its speed has to be carefully checked – so that users do not have any complaints on this count.

  6. Lack of device portability – If an app works like a charm on an iphone, and refuses to function properly on an ipad – that is definitely likely to make general users thoroughly frustrated. The same goes for Android apps that can be used on only select categories of handsets. You need to conduct a preliminary research on all types of handheld devices currently available that have the same mobile application development platform for which the app would be created. Smartphone applications that do not work on certain devices would automatically have a limited appeal.

  7. Apps with bugs – Neglecting the stage of beta testing for apps is almost a surefire way of ensuring the failure of the latter. Once the prototype of a new mobile application is ready, it has to be meticulously tested – and bugs (if present) have to be removed, before the final release. If the initial version of an app has viruses, people would be reluctant to download its latter upgrades, even after the problem(s) have been rectified.

  8. No specific group of target users – Yes, mobile app users are relatively gadget-savvy people – but that’s not all that you need to know, while deciding on the type of application to develop. You have to identify the groups of people (based on their age, interests, business requirements or any other pertinent criteria), for whom developing a customized app would be a viable idea. Proper targeting would also allow you make your promotional activities for the app more focused. A vague, general application hardly ever works – since they do not appear to be ‘essential’ for any segment of people.

  9. Poor promotional strategy and online visibility – The Apple Store has over a million smartphone applications, and you need to make sure that your app does not simply get lost in the crowd. Every iphone application development company in India and abroad has systematic promotional plans for their apps in place – including pre-release publicity drives (mainly through social media websites). Once an app gets approved at the App Store, it should be easily accessible to people via the web.

  10. Lack of timely updates – There are also instances of a new mobile app being fairly successful initially, with the charm wearing off over time. Users typically look for some novelty, along with an increasing set of functions, in the applications they use – and you can deliver these only by releasing regular updates/versions of apps. Even a money-making app can get discarded for being too dated, if there have been no upgrades on it for years.


The success (or otherwise) of mobile apps also hinges crucially on the reliability of the carrier services available for the OS they have been developed for. Contrary to what many novice developers believe, people do not like using applications with too many features either. An exorbitantly high download price can also turn off potential buyers, particularly if cheaper alternatives are available. Every quarter, many well-hyped mobile apps fail – and one or more of the above factors is invariably the cause of the failure.


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