Virtually all of the apps I download have a purpose (most are native), and whether for news, social media, gaming, productivity, etc., they add some real value to my Q10. There are a select few on there for a different reason, however. The sole purpose of their existence is to look good, because I really like the app icons. I've never even opened some, while others were briefly explored and then abandoned.
Unlike Kevin's infamous Cesar HQ Limited Edition Desktop Clock App purchase, which at least had a level of curiosity and mystery behind it (Something special must live within such an expensive app, or so he thought), my special apps are basically mindless eye candy. I had no intention of actually utilizing any of them. At least for me, the first impression of the icons was enough to initiate a download.
So let's take a quick look at these app icons and further explore the mind of a madman.
- Halloween Skeleton Ragdoll by Nathan Caldwell: What can I say, the app icon is a skull. And an awesome, anatomically correct skull. This is a free app and apparently an interactive marionette of a skeleton, without the string. That's all there is to it. It's probably a fun way to kill time, but I've never actually opened the app and it sits on my phone like a genie trapped in a lamp. There's just something ominous about this skull and it's a door that will remain locked. Why open Pandora's Box? But it looks cool.
- rad.io by radio.de GmbH: This is actually a very popular app and carries the "Built for BlackBerry" designation. It's also free and provides access to over 10,000 radio stations, podcasts and more. I even know people that use and love this app. And who wouldn't? I'm sure it's great, but for whatever reason, I just don't use it. Maybe I'm too lazy to start exploring 10,000 stations. The reason I have it on my phone is very profound, though. If Shrek had taken a radio into one of the telepods in the movie "The Fly", he'd come out looking like rad.io's app icon. That's a degree of awesome that I can't even quantify.
- Recycle Bin For BlackBerry 10 by Miciniti: This also carries the "Built for BlackBerry" designation and allows users to protect files in a secure location, either on the phone or an installed memory card. There are a lot of features, including the ability to move single or multiple files, move files or folders from within an app, and so on. While not free, the $1.99 price seems more than fair for what it provides. So why do I have it? The icon resembles the Recycle Bin from my old Windows 7 computer. Maybe it's nostalgia or maybe I wish my BlackBerry ran Windows 7 (trust me, I don't), but whatever the reason, I like having it on my first page of apps. It just looks important.
- Hungry Cat Mahjong by Wangpengfei: From what I can gather, this is a version of Lianliankan. It involves a cat or kittens and Mahjong tiles probably play a role. I don't think English is the first language of the descriptions author. "More than more than 200 points, the girls absolutely love, is definitely not ordinary Lianliankan!" is part of the description. I bet it's fun, but I'm completely lost. The official description is just over my head. The app icon has what appears to be a yawning cat head over Mahjong tiles, but it really looks like a drunk cat having a fun night in Vegas. And "the girls absolutely love". Well, that's good enough for my phone. It's also free, though the reviews are pretty bad! Still, awesome icon.
- Wizard's Choice Volume 1 by D_Light Games: This is a free RPG (role playing game), is text-based and a "Dungeons & Dragons" style adventure. It's a story that the player controls, as "decisions are affected by earlier decisions". I'm not a real gamer (Angry Birds is more my speed) so this one will probably never get played, but I'm sure it's fun nonetheless. It's also part of a series with many volumes. The true genius lies in the app icon design, which has a cute girl in a medieval bikini holding a red light. And she looks like she's about to kick some butt. Maybe I just feel the need to have Xena: Warrior Princess on my phone. It's amazing what can happen when I'm stuck in gridlock traffic, like downloading Wizard's Choice Volume 1.
Of course, having these apps on my list doesn't imply that they aren't great and designed by hard working, dedicated developers. It does, however, indicate the importance of icon appearance, especially for lesser known apps. I'm sure Facebook, Twitter, BBM and Password Keeper could get away with icons looking like a used diaper, but when browsing around an app store, an icons appearance provides an important first impression. When you think about it, the majority of developers are hitchhiking as we drive around, so they better dress their apps in the best outfits possible. Even Apple's new icons were controversial when iOS 7 launched (many still hate them), further illustrating how important icon design is.
Developers work a lot harder than me when creating an app and they're truly the backbone of an operating system, but neglecting the app icon is comparable to pushing out a horrible trailer to an otherwise good movie. Many of you have probably also downloaded apps that are rarely, if ever, used based on the icon. If you haven't tried some of the apps on my list, give one or all a try. You just might find your next favorite. And let me know what "vanity" icons you have on your BlackBerry. How important is icon appearance to you?
[This post was written by Erik Slaven, CrackBerry member camera531, as part of CrackBerry's Community Homepage Contributions initiative]