Picture this:

You’re in the cinema, three quarters of the way into the latest blockbuster film. The plot has hit a bit of a lull, and you suddenly become very aware of the supersized Fanta you have just finished gulping down. You want to run to the bathroom, but do you risk missing the big twist?

We’ve all been there. But we need suffer no more!

Introducing RunPee, an app that tells you when you can run and pee during a movie without missing anything important.

It’s the app you never knew you needed. And this is just one of a number of niche apps available that offer an eclectic, but remarkably useful, set of services.

Take Binky, for example. The app fulfils the seemingly rather insatiable human need to aimlessly scroll through content on our phones, without running the risk of flicking on to your ex’s latest pictures, or another baby or engagement update. It has all the functionality of a social media platform, without any of the actual socialisation. You can comment, you can like, but no one will ever see it.

Or how about Demotivational Pics? Sometimes you need a break from all the inspirational quotes over sunsets on Instagram, and this app has just the thing. Replace the usual morale boosting imagery with something to give you your daily dose of wry smiling.

The above examples might sound crazy, but the power of each is that they meet a clear, consumer need.

Each of these apps is built on a consumer truth. Knowing when to pee during a film IS really difficult. Sometimes you DO want something to scroll through without interacting with others. And occasionally you just need to see a funny picture. It’s hard to argue against the fact that these apps, in their own way, offer valuable services to consumers.

The reality is, of all the eclectic apps out there, many will be short lived fads. But a few might just have the richness of insight to fully break through. Take, for example, Bitmoji, an app that lets users create a cartoon version of themselves to use as an emoji, which was acquired by Snapchat in 2016.

Looking forward, the question really is how many niche apps can a person have? Device storage remains relatively limited, and until app streaming hits the mainstream there are two big opportunities for apps.

For big app companies, it’s about acquiring the high performing, specialist apps into their portfolio, or creating generalist apps that perform a lot of these services concurrently.

And for the small players, the key is to find a way to prove their specific but innate worth in making even the most mundane problems of life that little bit easier.

Categories: Tech & Content

BY ENGINEER Heather Young

heather.young@thevalueengineers.com