InfoMedia Criticises Governments iPhone App Spend

Mobile content firm InfoMedia has issued a warning that Government spending on iPhone apps as part of a mobile strategy is an unnecessary expense.

A BBC freedom-of-information request has discovered that there are at least six iPhone apps at various stages of development or release. They include three from the Department of Health, (a quit smoking app; a drinks tracker which monitors your alcohol consumption; and the Football Fan Fitness Challenge). In addition, the Foreign Office has a travel advice app, and the DVLA is developing Motoring Masterclass, which offers motoring advice. The documents released about the DVLA app show that it will cost £40,000 to develop.

Finally, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has a Jobcentre Plus job search app for both iPhone and Android phones, developed at a cost of £32,775. The DWP says this had been downloaded more than 50,000 times after 10 weeks on Apples App Store.

“These apps will require the provision of expensive handsets on expensive data plans,” says InfoMedia managing director, Michael Tomlins. “Other more widespread mobile technologies could have been deployed that will work on a wider range of handsets and be deployed significantly cheaper.

“We know apps – we do them for the likes of Chelsea FC, so we know what we are talking about when we say there are better, more cost-effective ways to communicate the sort of information these government departments want to get across to a greater number of people. It is a shame that in these cost-conscious times, Whitehall seems to have been a little seduced by the glamour of the iPhone app and not taken the time to adopt a more comprehensive mobile strategy.”