Just after the first half of this year, the official WeChat official announced an understatement: the number of WeChat mini-programs has exceeded 1 million. It's only been a year and a half since the mini-program was officially announced in early 2017.
In contrast, the Apple App Store has achieved more than 1 million applications, and it took 5 years. Unconsciously, there are more and more small programs in WeChat on Xiao Lei's phone. So, will the offensive WeChat mini program pose a substantial threat to traditional APPs?
Why do we like applets more and more?
Unconsciously, the volume of applications in our phones is constantly increasing; the initial capacity of smartphones has also gradually changed from 8GB, 16GB to the current 64GB. According to data from SensorTower statistics, from 2013 to 2017, the volume of some popular applications has increased by dozens of times.
Of course, the functions of major applications are also constantly being enriched. Take QQ Taobao, for example, in addition to the most basic functions, they can also be used to browse news, check express delivery, and apply for membership cards.
However, many times, we download an application just for one of the functions; as for the other bundled modules and functions, it is just a burden. For example, for some people, the public comment is only for viewing the nearby restaurant ratings, and it does not need its take-out and movie ticket functions; installing a Douban app is only to find recently released high-scoring movies, and it does not need it Groups, communities, and more.
In this case, the advantages of the WeChat Mini Program are vividly displayed. First of all, compared with ordinary applications, it is small in size, which greatly reduces the storage pressure of mobile phones. Secondly, its functions are simple, but sufficient to meet the needs. In addition, after all kinds of miscellaneous functions are missing, it has no impact on hardware Performance requirements are low, and low-profile phones can run smoothly.
All in all, many times, WeChat Mini Programs are better than ordinary apps. Imagine that when you needed a certain function before, you had to open a bloated APP, watch the on-screen advertisement on the homepage for a few seconds, and then turn off the pop-up client upgrade reminder, and then find the corresponding function. In this process, it takes unnecessary time, and you may have to endure the freeze. If it is Android, you may have to kill the background after you exit to prevent it from consuming resources and power silently.
Can applets really replace apps?
As early as the WeChat mini-program public test, Zhang Xiaolong said that after two years, the mini-program would replace 80% of the applications on the market. To this statement, the outside world may think it is an exaggeration, but as long as it replaces 50% or even 30%, the applet has been a great success.
Judging from Zhang Xiaolong's remarks, WeChat seems to be interested in building a platform similar to the App Store, convening developers to develop a variety of small programs. But for now, to accomplish these things under Apple's eyelids, WeChat is acting low-key. At present, there is no ranking or detailed classification of WeChat Mini Programs. Users installing a certain Mini Program need to search or scan codes or recommendations from others.
Lightweight is a big advantage for applets, but it is also a big disadvantage. Mini-programs cannot generate game masterpieces. HTML5 mini-games, such as Jump and Tank Warfare, have become even more popular. After a period of time, people are more inclined to open more traditional games such as eating chicken and king glory.
At present, Apple maintains a tolerant attitude towards WeChat Mini Programs. In the face of social giants such as WeChat, Apple is not as strong as we think. In previous WeChat rewards events, Apple was criticized side by side. If there is only one choice between WeChat and iPhone, many people will choose the former.
But even if Apple does not interfere with applets, how to make a profit is an issue that WeChat needs to consider in the future. For developers, the short program development cycle is short, the adaptation workload is small, and the difficulty of listing is low, which is very helpful for product and brand promotion. However, if you want to profit purely from small programs, it is still difficult. At present, WeChat does not give a clear profit model. Even if it does exist in the future, the share for Apple is almost inevitable.
In short, the small program is mainly an extension of the existing APP or platform, such as the Jedi survival game community, Douban scoring small program; or the mapping of physical operations, such as Starbucks, KFC membership points, order function. And if you want to make money directly through independent small programs, it is very difficult.
The popularity of small programs largely reflects people's dissatisfaction with bloated and brutal growth applications, returning to lightweight applications. Just as domestic custom systems have been developed step by step until now, some manufacturers have begun to do subtraction, and minimalist systems have become a new trend.
However, due to technical and platform restrictions, applets cannot replace existing APPs. If you need richer functions and exquisite graphics games, you still need a complete APP.
Of course, small programs can now make many mainstream applications fall into the second line, meeting the needs of some daily scenarios. From this point of view, the applet has succeeded. In addition, with the further development of AI and 5G technologies in the future, applets may become a new direction for future application development. When the network speed is fast enough and the latency is low enough, application data and calculations can be placed in the cloud, and only one shortcut entry can be kept locally. WeChat was not the first to propose such a scenario, and Microsoft and UC have already tried this before. But who can master this platform and entrance in the future, it may still be difficult to make a conclusion.