Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Apps, apps, and more apps

Apparently, one screen isn’t enough to keep us entertained any more.

recent article on says that numerous studies show that 80 percent of TV viewers of all age incorporate a “second screen” – laptop, smartphone or tablet computer – into their viewing habits.

Connor Child
The most likely reason for this trend is that people like to talk about TV shows and event while they are happening. Zeebox is an app developed to take advantage of this scenario. It “determines what show is currently being viewed and then provides streams from relevant social media, as well as offering targeted links to spin-off products, and background information about the actors, music or writers drawn from online resources.”

I appreciate the concept behind this service as much as anyone. I’m always going to the internet during shows to see what other movies/TV shows such and such actor has been in. During a sporting event, I like to see other people’s responses to the ref’s last call or Coach Jackson’s decision to go for it on fourth down.

But, the old man inside of me worries about whether this type of technology will dumb down TV. For example, my favorite show of all time is Lost. I would turn my phone off while I watched an episode, and if anyone ever tried to talk to me I would pause it. It’s too cerebral of a show to allow yourself to be distracted by apps or any type of second screen. Since Lost went off the air, I have been worried about whether I will ever see a show like it again. Now, as shows try harder to be second screen compatible, I am even more worried.

In addition to being fun and neat, apps can be genuinely useful. Jayne O’Donnell wrote an article for USA Today about how apps can help consumers save money as the Christmas season approaches. eBay has its Red Laser app and Amazon has its Price Check. Both are price comparison apps that quickly tell consumers where else they can get Good A and at what price.

Ms. O’Donnell offers a few other tips on how to use apps to help you shop smartly. One of the coolest apps she highlighted was Lemon, an app that keeps track of receipts. As someone with no organized method of keeping receipts, I can quickly see how that app would make my life easier.

- Connor Child

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