How Many Landscape Email Apps Do We REALLY Need???

On October 8, 2008

A few weeks ago, we went on a bit of a rant about how one developer launched the same app with different names, same price, and functionality.  Well, that number has since ballooned, and there appears to be no stopping this App Store polluter.

Todays app event isn’t quite so egregious, but it is a more than a bit ridiculous.  We received a number of emails from one of our readers, soundsgoodtome. He wrote–

EMAIL 1.  "wow — competing apps on the same day! Did you notice these two, competing apps, both released today?  one is $4.99, and the other is $0.99! (i predict a price-drop within 48 hours!)"

EMAIL 2.  "and a 3rd one! wtf???"

EMAIL 3.  "ok, this is ridiculous, now. (#4!) How can 4 apps that do the *same* thing all be released on the *same* day???"

Well, we had noticed too… 

Four apps (different developers), different prices, but all seemed to do the same thing.  We bought all four to see if there were any actual differences.  And… there really aren’t.  All four let you type email in landscape.

Of the bunch…

is the most basic of the four but it is also the least expensive. That makes it a good, cheap way to get landscape email.

Compose does the same thing as TouchType with no additional features, and at $4.99, unfortunately for the developer, its overpriced as soon as it hits the app store (they had no way to know this was going to happen I’m sure).

The third app, Sideways, has the most polished feel and the most features.  Sideways saves text between launches, has a readily accessible Trash can for deleting current text, and the “always visible” Action button not only sends email, but can also restore the default help text.  Sideways can also be used to reply to or forward an email.

And finally, Wide Email is a basic app for writing email in landscape as well.  It works well, but as far as we can tell it does no more or less than TouchType and Compose.  It falls between these two in price.

Maybe if Apple released these a few days apart with the most expensive one first everyone would get a fair share of the market?  Maybe that isn’t fair to developers since it may give one app an edge over another in terms of time to market?  Apple must have decided the only fair thing to do was release every similar app at the same time and let the market decide.  Unfortunately for the developer who does less and wants more, that usually means their app will end up at the bottom of the pack.

We haven’t thought of a better system to deal with these issues… can you think of a solution or how you would do it?


Thanks for the headsup soundsgoodtome! As always we really appreciate stuff being brought to our attention!