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With more than 70,000 apps available to download for the iPhone, Apple's App Store doesn't really do enough to help users find what they need.

Unless you know exactly which app you want, then searching for new apps can be a slow and frustrating process. I've been taking a look at the App Store, as well as a couple of alternatives for discovering new apps...

App Store

The problem with the App Store is that, apart from picking out the top 25 free and paid apps and listing latest releases, it doesn't do enough to help people browse the massive range of apps on offer.

Sure, you can browse by app category or perform a keyword search, but you still end up with loads of listings to trawl through. Select entertainment for instance, and you have 505 apps to scroll through.

More sub-categories and filtering options are needed to help customers browse and narrow down their choice of app to download.

Better still, Apple has plenty of user reviews that have been written for its apps, so why not use these to allow people to filter and search by user rating? Also, with the information of the apps you have personally downloaded and/or rated and reviewed, why not offer personalised recommendations

Partly thanks to the limitations of the App Store's search and discovery options, a number of third party app search sites have sprung up, with two launched this week; uquery and Appolicious.

Uquery

This is an App Store search engine, which allows users to search the 72,705 apps by keyword, and seems to do it much more quickly than you could on iTunes:

eQuery

It also offers a number of filtering options in the left sidebar which help to narrow the search by price range, release date, and category, though it could still do with more.

While it provides some good screenshots, the app pages are a little bare on detail, just listing the developer's description and providing a link to iTunes to purchase the app.

It doesn't have the user reviews from the App Store, which would have been useful, but uquery does at least offer a faster way to search for apps.

Appolicious

As the name suggests, this is a version of Delicious for iPhone apps, and looks to do more to provide reviews and recommendations from friends, and based on the apps you have already downloaded, something the App Store hasn't bothered to do.

It aggregates news about apps, and also provides video reviews and previews, providing a broader range of information than uquery.

It also functions as an app search engine, allowing users to search by category or keyword, and sort listings by relevance, price and release date, it doesn't allow you to filter using these options, so you can't narrow down the number of search results:

Appolicious

However, it does offer much more information about the individual apps, linking to news, videos, developer's notes, as well as reviews and ratings:

One other useful feature is the App Library Builder, which scans the app folder on your computer and give you the chance to rate and review the apps you already use.

It also uses this information to provide recommendations of apps that may appeal to you, as well as suggesting like-minded users to connect with.

This is a site that will become more useful as you get involved and if more people choose to review and recommend apps, but the potential is definitely there.

Graham Charlton

Published 4 September, 2009 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (7)

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Alex Cooper

Pandoras Box, a free app for iPhone is also a cool way of finding apps that have reduced in price.

almost 7 years ago

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Anonymous

Appminer is a great app which allows you to search more throughly and also flag apps you want so you are alerted when they drop in price

almost 7 years ago

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Lysander Meath Baker

I'd like to see stats on each app relating to actual usage: e.g. how frequently does the average user open the app, what's the average length of time the app is used before being deleted, etc

Perhaps someone should write an app to collect this data...

almost 7 years ago

Daniel Rajkumar

Daniel Rajkumar, MD at Web-Translations Limited

Relying on the app store is not enough to market your App. you need to get positive reviews online and use some conventional marketing too. Some of the best apps are the simplest ideas.

Premail is one of those apps. I use it all the time; it allows me to quickly send emails using pre-written email templates. There is a free version, but the paid version allows me to edit and to create my own templates. I use it about twice a day to follow up and keep in contact.

Premail is one of the few really good business apps.

almost 7 years ago

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ralph

One of the newest most fun apps is PUFF! from Japan, just don't let your girlfriend see it! http://japansugoi.com/wordpress/japanese-iphone-upskirt-panchira-app-puff/

almost 7 years ago

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Rich R

There is also

  http://appexplorer.com/

which has a fast search engine plus several other features.

over 6 years ago

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Surf App

The Post is so good for all readers.

over 3 years ago

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