In our nearly three years of existence, we’ve featured hundreds of BlackBerry applications. While some of these are free, most of them cost a few dollars. This, of course, turns off many prospective customers. We’ve become so used to free software that purchasing premium software can seem like a waste. I have often found myself thinking along those lines, eschewing quality software because I didn’t want to shell out the developer’s asking price. That’s a one-dimensional way of looking at the issue, though. Today we’ll run through some main points on the worthiness of premium third-party software so you can better determine whether it’s worth your money.
How often will you use the application?
This is the question you should ask yourself first. And then you should ask it again before you make the purchase. It is the single most important factor in a decision of whether to purchase software. Is this something that you will implement every day? Every week? Is it something you can check regularly? Most importantly, is it something you’re committed to? Different people will come up with different answers, of course. I mean, some people buy tip calculators. While I think that doing it in my head or simply using the calculator application suffices in every situation, others might value the convenience of a dedicated tip calculator. They would therefore use it fairly often, making it possibly worth the cost. I like to think of the application in terms of cost per use. If I use a $5 application daily, after a week it would have costed just $1 per day. After a month it’s 16 cents a day. After a year it’s just 1.4 cents per day. That’s not the only factor that goes into the decision, but it’s certainly a prominent one.
How great a task does the application perform?
Some BlackBerry apps perform little to no useful functions. These are never worth paying for. Why, for instance, pay for a flashlight application when you can simply and easily use your BlackBerry as a flashlight? If you’re going to pay for software, it might as well perform a grand function, something you couldn’t do otherwise. This leads into the next criteria…
Can your BlackBerry perform the task natively?
Oftentimes, a third-party application simply replicates native BlackBerry functions. The value they add is in the interface. For instance, it’s super simple to create and edit a spreadsheet that tracks your expenses. Yet many users will opt for a dedicated third-party application. The interface is designed with the exact intention in mind, so it works in a more intuitive manner. In this case, the cost is for the interface, not for the function. Keeping with the expense tracker example, the question here moves to whether the saved time is worth the cost. If you have to take all the steps necessary to edit your spreadsheet every time you make a purchase, will you continue to do it? Or will you just let it slip through the cracks? If the software is the difference between doing something and not doing something, chances are it’s a worthy purchase. That is, if the goal itself is worthy. That, however, represents a personal determination.
Will the application have a positive effect on your life?
This applies to few applications. The best example I can conjure is an application that tracks your diet, fitness, and weight. Much like the previous question, you have to determine whether the application will make a big difference. If you have the application, will you actually use it to keep track of your fitness and nutrition? Or is it just something you’re purchasing because you feel guilty and think you need to do something about it? If an application is the booster you need to get you going, then go for it. If you know yourself too well and know that you really don’t have the motivation and will stop pursuing your goal even with the app, it’s time to reconsider.
Overall point: think long and hard
There are plenty of premium applications out there that are worth your time and money. They can help you become more efficient, produce better results, and even learn more about yourself. Not all applications are like this, so it’s important to weed out the useless. Only you can make a determination of whether premium third party software is for you. If you start with the questions above, I think you’ll have a good idea of whether the software is worthy or not.