My iPhone 3G arrived yesterday and due to another issue I’ve had with getting the iPhone (in an ever growing list, which is another story) my O2 SIM card wasn’t activated/connected. So I had a phone with no phone functionality.

However it did give me the chance to play around with some of the other things last night and download and try a few apps. However one thing really bothered me about the app store; no trial versions.

Anyone who has downloaded software from various vendors (shareware, trial versions etc.) will no doubt be aware of the varying quality and feature sets that can be found from one piece of software to the next. There are probably people who love and couldn’t live without some of the stuff I’ve used for a few fleeting minutes/seconds before uninstalling, but that’s the point; there was no barrier to entry I could just as equally find things I love as things I hate.

With the app store I don’t have that, although some apps have a “lite” version — but I’ve never liked feature limited trials anyway. All I have is the reviews of people; who, to me, have no authority — I’ve tried software/movies/bands before that has got nothing but glowing reviews but not like them. As like movies and music software choice is quite personal (for me at least).

So there may be 100’s of fantastic apps that I’d be willing to shell out a few pounds for (or more), but I have no way to know at the moment.

It seems that app developers also have similar thoughts.

What we don’t need is a myriad of ways of getting trial versions (time limited, feature limited, “lite” versions etc.) what we need is a single, solid and consistent way of trying before buying (time limited is always best in my opinion). Normalizing this kind of thing while making it better is something that Apple have a good track record with. How much easier did they make installing software on your computer or downloading, syncing and organising your digital music? Now I only hope they look at trial versions for the app store.

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