Opinion: There's An App For Everything, And That's (Probably) Good

Earlier this week, I found myself grumbling at the mere existence of Periscope for Android, the latest platform release of Twitter's live video streaming app. I don't like Periscope, and I don't get it.

But it's a good thing that it exists, and the same is true of every app out there — all 1.5 million of them on the Google Play Store and all 1.5 million on the Apple App Store. Even the very-much-third-placed Windows Phone has hundreds of thousands of apps of all shapes and sizes available. You might not like the fact that they exist, but you should be aware that someone out there does.

I write our daily App Deals column for one week out of every two, and I'll freely admit that there are a lot of pointless apps in there. But most fulfil a specific, if extremely niche, niche. If you don't like the look of something, or think it's downright stupid that it even exists, rest assured that someone else loves it.

A few years ago, Lifehacker dealt with a reader question — "Why are there so many productivity apps, and how do I choose one?". It's very true that there are a lot of apps for each mobile platform, and it's very likely that they're not all worthwhile and probably only very few are actually good. But having that choice in the first place is a very good thing, right?

On Reddit today, there's a great AskReddit thread about the small, niche, lesser-known apps that people can't live without. One of the top suggestions is an alarm clock called Wakie! that doesn't get you out of bed with an annoying buzz, but instead gives you a call from a completely random person on the other side of the globe to wake you up. Sounds ridiculous, but plenty of people out there use it.

If you want to use your iPad to mix or create music, you can do so with Pacemaker or the new Korg iM1 synthesiser app. There's even an Android app that loops a folder of video over and over, to run a digital signage kiosk from a smartphone, if you really wanted to do that.

No matter what you want to do with that tiny supercomputer in your pocket, you probably can, and that's because someone out there has put in the time and effort to make an app for it.

I'll be honest, I still don't really get why someone would want to use Periscope — whether it's for Android or for iOS — and live-video-broadcast the minutiae of their lives to a bunch of people they probably don't even know. But Giz editor Luke Hopewell loves it, and I realise that in a way it's just an extension of the share-your-life-freely ethos that makes Twitter so popular. I use Twitter a lot, and I should probably accept that someone out there feels the same way about Periscope, and every other app in existence.

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