UK tech hacks fire crap apps on The Apprentice

Last night, Amstrad man, grizzly pseudo-business icon Alan Sugar struggled to come to terms with apps on the second episode of BBC One’s flagship Apprentice show. 

Two teams were competing in 24 hours to garner the most app downloads. The clueless lot both separately plumped for soundboards unworthy of even Crazy Frog, and along the way they got a grilling from some of the UK’s tech journalists.

The “Slangatang” app – originally reviewed on Pocket Lint here, with an updated entry saying it was crap after all – was a soundboard that promised regional accents and different characters. Including that famous region: “USA GI”. It was a rubbish idea and it got slated straight off the bat.

The girl’s team opted for another soundboard app. It was called Ampi-App and it was just as bad, if not worse, but still won the challenge in the end. Ampi-App offered animal noises with a display of an elephant. Wired’s UK editor Nate Lanxon asked: “Are there any elephant noises?” “Er… no” came the response.

Wired gave it some coverage anyway, though that seems to have disappeared now.

Mike Butcher of TechCrunch Europe gave the favoured coverage to Slangatang, calling it quirky with potential.  It did lead to some downloads – roughly 3,000.

What didn’t make the final cut were the journalist’s true feelings about the awful applications.

Though Stuart Dredge gives kudos to app-making house Grapple for its quick-thinking and tight deadline, he says, at The Guardian: “A gang of dislikeable eejits shouting at one another isn’t the best way to brainstorm an app. You can’t go wrong with animal noises. And comedy racial/regional stereotypes? There are good reasons why there aren’t many apps for that.”

App maker Grapple, talking to Dredge, says Nokia, Blackberry and Android were keen to help out on time but Apple simply said: “No.”

And Mike Butcher calls his favoured app at the time a “piece of shit”. He accepted studio TalkBack’s desire to put the app online as part of the show, though he doesn’t appear keen. Since, he says, he left the post online to stand as “a monument to the craziness”.

“Incredibly,” Butcher says, “no-one called it out as being a terrible app with no future.”

Some readers claim the posts would have never appeared online if it wasn’t for the TV show, which is probably true.