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...
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?
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:
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.
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:
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.