For all the functionality that mobile apps have brought to our lives, we’ve also witnessed the unfathomable success of iFart, an early iOS app that did little more than simulate flatulence. But iFart also managed to generate more than $10,000 per day, and its success dropped the creative bar so low that just about everyone and his weird, unkempt cousin began working on apps that would, uh, capture the same magic.
Dig it: Popular apps don’t always need to be good. They just need to get people talking.
Here, we present a brief list of ill-conceived app failures that should never have been developed. Sometimes—to bastardize a phrase from Apple’s marketing department—there simply shouldn’t be an app for that.
What is it? A hyperlocal iOS app that allows users to locate their Facebook friends in San Francisco’s Dolores Park. That’s all it does.
Why this app shouldn’t exist: It’s frustratingly niche. There are other non-Dolores Park-branded location apps that allow you to find your friends within Dolores Park—or any park. Hell, they can even help you locate your friends in non-park settings. Go nuts.
But the worst thing about Dolo? It confirms what most San Franciscans already think about Dolores Park: It’s become a way-too-precious playground for precocious app developers and everyone else who thinks San Francisco is ruining San Francisco.
Still curious? Start stalking your park friends on iTunes.
What is it? It’s an app that invites users to simulate all the fun of using an electric trimmer, but without all the hassle of actually shaving. The picture of the trimmer on the display combined with the bzzzzz sound from the speakers will fool all your friends into thinking you’re grooming right in front of them. I don’t see how this app could fail to get any party started.
Why this app shouldn’t exist: Shaving is not a game. But you wouldn’t know that from the developers’ description: “The free game makes fun of the believe that smartphones can do everything and turns your mobile phone into an electric shaver. The realistic sound and interface confuse family and friends and causes a lot of laughs and fun.” Lies! All of it.
What is it? The official app of Waffle House, the popular southern-food franchise.
Why this app shouldn’t exist: Aside from the winters, there’s one major drawback to residing in the northeast—Waffle Houses are in short supply. Whenever I travel south, I make sure to plan a trip to a Waffle House, where some of the world’s finest waffles can be found. Unfortunately, however, the official Waffle House app isn’t nearly as indispensable as the waffles.
The only genuine service the app provides is a “Waffle House locator,” which—in the Android version at least—appears to simply tap into the Google Maps API, but fails to provide access to any helpful Google Maps features, such as directions. All of that prompts the question: Why not just use Google Maps to begin with?
I don’t want to pick on Waffle House, but its useless app affirms the greater trend of brands believing that they need to develop an app, despite the fact that the app serves no functional value. Waffles deserve better. We all deserve better.
What is it? No amount of Facebook is too much Facebook. That seemed to be the working philosophy of Zuckerberg and company when they designed the much-hyped Facebook Home, a launcher for Android that slathers liberal helpings of the social network all over your Android OS.
Not only do updates from your Facebook friends constantly crawl across your screen, but your friends’ FB avatars also transform into creepy floating Chat Heads.
Why this app shouldn’t exist: Despite Facebook’s insistence to the contrary, we don’t need constant Facebook. Sure, we all use the service, but do we really need it stalking our mobile lives at all times? Although the app was able to hit the 500,000-download milestone in fewer than ten days, over half the initial reviews were one-star.
Still curious? It’s still racking up horrible reviews on Google Play.