Some apps, like Yo, grow insanely popular because they do one simple thing really well. Some apps also do something simple, but not well at all, and still grow popular.
Such is the case for an app called DroidScale that its makers say “turns your phone into a digital scale.” It’s supposed to tell you the weight of average household objects by placing them on the phone.
It has the honour of being “the worst rated application with at least 1 million downloads,” according to a paper by two Columbia University researchers, who analysed a million apps on the Google Play store last year.
They were looking for security problems — and they found them — but they also came up with some other interesting stats, too, like the worst-rated popular apps.
DroidScale had a rating of 1.57 stars in November when the researchers finished their study. Today the rating is up a bit higher, to 1.97.
Among over 6,000 reviews, there are plenty of warnings, saying things like “Umm had 3 people with droids and this app we all put a quarter ( currency) an got 3 different weights……… a quarter doesnt weigh 12 grams” [sic]
The reason for the discontent? The app isn’t actually weighing anything, the researchers found when they looked at the code. It is simply using a “randomly generated number,” they found.
Still, not only has the free ad-supported app been downloaded more than 1 million times, but over 1,000 people have paid 99 cents for an ad-free version.
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