InfoMedia Services warns Whitehall apps are an unnecessary cost

InfoMedia, the mobile content company, has warned that Government spending on iPhone apps as part of a mobile strategy was unnecessary expense.

A BBC freedom of information request has discovered that there were 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).

The Foreign Office has a travel advice app, and the DVLA is developing ‘Motoring Masterclass’, giving motoring advice. The documents released about the DVLA app show that it will cost £40,000 to develop.

The Department for Work and Pensions 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 Apple’s App Store.

Michael Tomlins, managing director, InfoMedia Services said: “These apps will require the provision of expensive handsets on expensive data plans. 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.”

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