Really, A Pothole App? What’s Next?

June 24, 2011

“There’s an app for that.”

In 2009, Apple’s iPhone commercials drilled this phrase into our heads, highlighting the simple and extraordinary things mobile applications can do for us. Yet, I still find myself perplexed (and admittedly, entertained) with some of the apps I see popping up today.

For example, I just read an article from Springwise.com about Street Bump, a prototype app being tested in Boston that uses a mobile phone’s sensors to detect and record potholes. I wasn’t too surprised to read on to find that insurance company, Liberty Mutual, had plans to work with the city of Boston to eventually turn this into actionable information. I’m a bit skeptical as to whether it actually will pan out to be accurate and provide useful information to drivers and city planners, but the whole idea had me questioning “What in the world will they think of next?”

To feed my curiosity, I did a quick search for the some of the strangest apps ever invented and was amused to find everything from iBeer, an app that allows users to order a virtual beer that fills up the screen of your mobile device (but of course does nothing to quench your thirst), to My Girl’s Day, designed for the “common guy” to track his wife or girlfriend’s time of the month in an attempt to prepare for impending mood swings and help make sense of odd food cravings. Sorry guys, it appears this app is no longer available for download.

While some of these sound pretty ridiculous to me, the mobile app industry doesn’t seem to be slowed down by these quirky tools. In fact, at the beginning of this year,  it was predicted that mobile application store revenue would almost triple to $15.1 billion in 2011.

If you’re interested in reading more about how quickly the industry has grown, check out some of these charts from Stephanie at Chomp.com that were compiled in celebration of the 500,000 Apple-approved app.

Have you come across any exceptionally unique or strange apps? Given some of the absurd stuff out there, what do you predict is next for the mobile app industry?