While analyzing my battery usage today, which is sort of an obsession, I started thinking of the apps I use on a daily/weekly basis and then considered if the were Web dependent or independent. Not so long ago in the earlier days of Pocket PCs, even though devices had much less storage capacity, information was saved locally in databases for easy access, and we relied heavily on Syncing with our PC’s to upload/download information. With limited Wi-Fi accessibility, the only option to access the Web was via BT through a feature phone, definitely not a pleasant experience. But today, we have become almost totally dependent on the Web to use our Pocket PC Phones for almost everything.

Setting all the built-in apps and games aside for a moment, I did a check of my 140 current third party apps and came out with the following breakdown; 78 Web dependent apps, 8 Web important apps, and 54 Non-dependent apps. Web dependent are easy to define; You Tube, Yelp, eBay, basically anything that won’t work without a connection. Web important apps include; Handyscan, Voice2Mail & SkyWallet, apps that can do something on their own but need a Web connection to finish the task, like sending an email or syncing data. And Non-dependent apps; Flashlight, iLighter, Level, Unit Converter, Stop Watch, Add it Up. You know, all the apps we used to load onto our old devices to keep busy and seem important, because we couldn’t connect to anything.

Combining Web dependent/important and comparing to Non-dependent apps, that worked out to a 61% – 39% split. About what I would expect in our more mobile world. But when I considered how I use my device and if I include the built-in apps, which are almost all Web dependent, I estimate my usage split is more like 90% – 10%, favoring Web dependency, and would be closer to 95% – 5% if it were not for a stand alone shopping app that I open several times a week. Email, Twitter, Facebook, RSS Readers, Board Express, Dropbox, Zune Pass, YouTube, Sports Scores, Marketplace, Mobility Digest, IE, Weather, Cartoon TV, Break Videos, Concerts, Home Depot, Resco Radio, SPB TV, Stocks, Traffic Cams, Radar, Wikipedia, the list goes on and on. Not ready to part with my 54 Non-dependent apps, but it does make you wonder how much time these endangered species have. Oh, and it also helps to explain why my little battery that could (or try) struggles through the day and night. It’s the Internet stupid! So thanks Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau for the World Wide Web. And Al Gore, never mind.

So how about you. Do you find yourself more and more dependent on the Web while using your phone? Oh, and those under 25 need not comment, as you have most likely always been part of a connected world and don’t understand what the hell I am talking about.


  1. Welcome to the cloud baby! :) and skydrive is only increasing it’s hold on WP7 so there’s only more of this to come…embrace the cloud ;)

  2. im 23 but i would argue that its people your age that are the ones that wouldnt understand what the hell your talking about right now. that being said, web dependant apps are the ones everyone wants… why do you think pocket PC’s without a cellular connection were so ravingly popular… oh thats right, they were nothing in comparison to how popular smartphones are today. the reason they are so popular today is because of how easy it is to use and access a web dependant app. and its the internet and people wanting constant access to it that drives these web dependatn apps to be more popular. supply and demand

  3. Hey there young Skywalker, remember it was us early adopters who made the current devices (phone + pda = smartphone) possible. So, you are welcome.

    Interesting though how users today are clamoring for 32 and 64GB devices, when you really have a portable netbook in your hand. So yesterday. Everything you need or want is accessible somewhere. Maybe it’s those expensive capped or throttled data plans, or not yet everywhere WiFi accessibility. Or, maybe having immediate access to resident information is still a secret desire.

  4. immediate access to resident info is not even a secret desire in my book, im open about it :)

    yes thank you old people for combining the obvious :P

    it still took a 14 yr old to crack ios in under half an hour was it? my memory is a little fuzzy in my old age but im sure it was something like that.

    in all seriousness, resident data is crucial if your not in an area blanketed with 3g or wifi (aka, vermont)

    ps. slacker radio station caching FTW!

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