Too Many Apps Spoil The Broth

Look at the picture below of my iPhone home screen and tell me what’s wrong with it:

Messaging Smartphone Apps

Yes, you guessed it: every man, women, child, dog, and online service has their own messaging app these days and it’s driving me crazy. Do I really need 12 apps, which basically do the same thing, to keep in touch with everyone?

It all started a few years ago when WhatsApp initially took off and was then copied dozens of times triggering a spiral into the nightmare of trying to keep a mental note of who’s using which app and then navigate the idiosyncrasies of each.

Not only have messaging apps become segmented by service (Facebook, Twitter, Skype…) but also by region; KakaoTalk in Korea, LINE in Japan (from Naver), and WeChat in China (from Tencent) etc. Interestingly WhatsApp has completely failed to innovate and is looking increasingly dated compared to the others.

While I realise this is a first-world problem it would be great to see Apple, Google and the like come together to agree on an open messaging standard which works cross-platform. These are the features I would like to see baked in:

  • Send text, audio, photo, video, location and contacts to individuals or groups
  • Video conference with one or more people simultaneously over any network
  • Location-aware channels for conferences and coffee shops etc.
  • Mandatory encryption and privacy controls

Sadly it’s unlikely because they all already have their own competing solutions but if a startup like Cobook can unify half a dozen contact services then surely someone can?

David avatar

3 responses

  1. Hahaha, D, i didnt know you have so many chat apps:D:D:D

  2. This describes the situation so well! Here in the states, I have friends use iMessage, Google Talk, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp and Kakaotalk. A few use Viber as well! It’s so hard to coordinate all these messaging apps. By the way, a huge fan of your blog.

    1. Thanks for your comment – something tells me this situation will get worse before it gets better.


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