TechCrunch Android App Fail

I love TechCrunch, they are a highly reputable source of info, especially on start-ups. WIth them having covered a multitude of start-ups, their app successes and failure; one would have expected a good Android app from them.

Last night TechCrunch released an Android app for tablets. I went on to the Play Store expecting to not be able to download the app, but there was no such restriction.The first thing I noticed was the 8 ‘5 stars’ and the 8 ‘1 stars’. It was an immediate sign that something had gone wrong.

They just built a tablet app and didn’t restrict downloading by phones on the Play Store … Which is what most people are saying, including my comment.

My comment on the app


No usability guidelines were considered it seems, as:

  • things I would expect to slide or press aren’t working
  • their ‘Trending’ post thing on the side just takes way too much space
  • and and and …

I won’t continue the little list above cos the app looks fine on tablets, which is the target audience anyways.

The most disappointing thing about the app though, is that looking at the itunes listing of the app, and comparing to Play Store screenshots, the Android app is *just* a port from iPad. The biggest fail is really that when I long-press on an article, a sort of ill-designed toast appears, with 4 options as below on the screenshot. The problem is that Android has intents, and thus native ‘systemwide’ sharing. On the phone that I was testing the app with, I only have EverNote installed, no Pocket, and I’ve never used InstaPaper. It was really disappointing that instead of opening EverNote for example, I was sent to a WebView page that lets me connect to EverNote. If I have an app installed, I don’t wanna waste more bandwidth sending content to the app’s server, only to get it back again.
This clearly means that there was no consideration for being able to do things offline (except to save an article for offline reading).

I wouldn’t have written this article if the app was developed by an independent developer who didn’t have access to TechCrunch’s data (thee actually is an app out there ‘TechCrunch Reader’ that is better than this one) [looks like it’s been removed from the Play Store]. The sad thing is that this app was developed by AOL Inc.

I’ve added more screenshots on the gallery of this post.