Nine Ultimate Apps: A Wish List for African Americans

March 2, 2011  |  

by Steven Barboza

Walk down the streets of any major city and you will see people staring at their smartphones as if deferring to little geniuses that have no qualms about telling people what to do and where to go.  Clearly, our smartphones have outsmarted us.  It’s also clear that we’ve gone ape for apps. They guide us to our destinations, find places to eat, reach out to our friends, even help us confess our sins (Confession: a Roman Catholic App).

Apps are part of the warp and woof of life – and perhaps soon they will counsel us on death.  If funerals are now being live-streamed on the web for people who can’t (or won’t) attend in person,  somebody is bound to develop an app for grieving.  You might say it was inevitable that we’d be “living the app life” in 2011, especially considering that there are now 4.6 billion mobile phone subscriptions, which works out to two out of every three people on the planet having a subscription.

African Americans are huge stakeholders in this scenario. According to the Nielsen Co., the average African American uses more than double the talk time of the average white American per month: 1,331 vs. 647 minutes. Also blacks send an average of 780 text messages, compared to whites’ 566.

As for apps, the market is gigantic and fast-growing. There are already more than 250,000 apps being sold in the App Store, and Apple says developers are making $1 billion on them. It won’t take long for software developers to start targeting apps to African Americans in the same way that food, clothing and music products are.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this has already begun to happen.

It’s not too early to offer software makers a wish list of sorts. These apps would not only sell well, but they would benefit users in ways that other technology has not.  Some of these apps tackle serious issues. Some are wild ideas. Others are intended merely as fun. Finally, these apps are not limited to African Americans’ use.

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