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The app system is one of the biggest advances ever to hit the mobile phone market and yet there is one part of the app system which still needs work. That is the ability to find good apps, because, while there are a huge number of good apps, there are at least as many bad apps. The Zwapp iPhone app is an attempt to find a way to help people find the best apps by using the power of social networking to allow you to look at the apps of your friends and family or search their database for the most popular apps.
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When you begin Zwapp you will sign up with a name, e-mail and password. Once you have done this you will be given the opportunity to find friends who are using Zwapp through Twitter, Facebook or your iPhone contacts list. It will then search your phone for apps. It then lets you see the apps of your friends and your friends can see what apps you have. You can also see the most popular of the apps, categorized both by free and paid apps, or search through the apps your friends have.
Once you have found one that interests you, you are able to see more information on it such as comments and the price. You can also go to the app in the iTunes library by clicking on the price or mark that you have, or do not have, that app. This is important because the detection of the apps is not perfect. It can't always identify all the apps you don't have and might throw up suggestions of apps you do have.
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The basic interface of Zwapp is quite functional with a number of buttons at the bottom of the screen which take you to the different parts of the app easily. The major drawback is that, like all app finding apps, you have to leave the program in order to download an actual app. This makes it quite easy though.
Looking through the apps will feel very familiar as it uses a layout very similar to the iPhone layout even letting you flip through the apps the same way and using the same images. This is nice because it gives you a feeling almost like someone has handed you their phone and is allowing you to look through their apps.
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This is a social app and because of that if you don’t have friends who are using this app you’re not going to get a lot of value out of this. This means you’re going to have to convince your friends to download the app and sign up if you want to see what they have. If you have a lot of Twitter and Facebook friends this may be partially solved but it is still a weakness. In addition to this the app does not show all of your apps and can show apps you don't have, so if you find something a bit more obscure you won’t be able to easily share it and your friends may think you're using something you're not. This makes the app considerably less useful, but it is uncommon for the wrong apps to be displayed, so the primary difficulty is that it is difficult to share lesser known apps.
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Any app that can help you find more apps is useful and this can certainly help find the most popular apps, but the fact it does not show all of your apps limits its value considerably. On the other hand using social to find apps is a good idea and if they can get an audience and fix a few things, or if you can convince your friends to join and use it, then this becomes quite a lot better than average. The app is free now so it's worth at least looking at.
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- Source, Author's own experience.
- Images, screenshots from Zwapp for the iPhone.