In a world swimming with apps and various marketplaces and platforms, it is sometimes hard to beging to wrap your head around all of the options - the dilemma of choice. So why then am I adding another element to that choice overload by diving into Mobogenie? Well, because their nearly half-billion (yes, with a capital B) worldwide downloads suggests that with their US launch of Mobogenie 2.0 incoming, we might take notice and see what it's all about.
The first and most important fundamental question confronting Mobogenie is simply, "why do I need it when I have a number of native marketplaces at my disposal?" Their answer appears to be aggregation of basic device management features and simplyfying free app discovery. While admittedly skeptical of my own potential utility of using Mobogenie (I typically cling to a small quiver of apps I use the most) - the Mobogenie platform has a whole has found a place on both my desktop and phone. While great for the voracious app downloaders out there, I found it even better as an overall way to keep tabs on all things relating to your device. My personal favorites are a visually-rich message manager (finally a great free piece of software to save and view my texts!), a great backup system, and a clean and pretty interface to browse apps and other goodies for your phone.
Mobogenie 2.0 (for simplicity I'll call it just "Mobogenie" from here on out) on your device can be used as a simple app platform with a special kick - everything is free, including wallpapers and ringtones (man, when was the last time I searched for ringtones??? oh the "good old days"). If you see it there, it won't cost you anything. While this limits some of the broad choice of native app stores, it does cut down on some of the clutter if you aren't browsing for premium apps. It also bundles together media (music, video, pictures) viewers in one place which, if using the app often, can be convenient.
The "cleaner" companion app goes to work to remove redundant, cached, and other extraneous files to open up space on your device - my run removed nearly 3.5GB worth of non-essentials and was very easy to use (after a quick download - not sure why it doesn't come preloaded). Of course, the app handles application updates and notifies you with a rich notification in the pulldown tray.
In my mind, I think a big reason for Mobogenie's aggressive growth worldwide is their gamified community system. You can earn points for a number of tasks, earning you in-app levels and even make you eligible for prizes. These tasks can be as simple as downloading an app, commenting on an app, or sharing the app and each has a value associated with it to earn levels and rewards. To promote their push into the US market, Mobogenie partneres with Newegg to give away $50,000 worth of prizes. This community is one of the stronger forces driving Mobogenie forward.
All in all I didn't encounter anything that would prevent me from using Mobogenie as an app store, at the very least it provides a unique and visually-rich way to manage all of my apps, regardless of where I downloaded them from. The app is snappy, has a very cleanly designed UI, and works as advertised. However, with all that said, I think you'll find that it's the pairing with the desktop client that really lets Mobogenie stretch its legs.
The Desktop client, Mobogenie 3.0, in my opinion, is where the true appeal of Mobogenie comes to light (but that's partly because I don't use or download many apps). Now, I must admit it pains me a teensy bit to say that, mostly because I haven't used a desktop client to manage a mobile device since my BlackBerry days *shudder*, which hadn't left me with a fond connection with mobile desktop management apps. While iPhones have iTunes that functions as a capable dektop manager, Android doesn't have something quite like that, so I can see a need for it in the world. I must also admit that actually getting your phone to connect can seem a little intimidating as it requires you to enable Developer Options to enable "USB Debugging" to allow the client to manage your phone. Your phone will "warn" you of your intentions which might be worrisome to a few folks out there, but the client offers clear instructions and it isn't as big a deal as it might seem. But other than that things get pretty good.
One-click rooting and batch APK installs are some of the "power user" features that could be handy to the tweakers. But what I personally like are the backup/restore features alongside the built-in file manager as a means of deeper device management. Going further in as a device manger, you can quickly manage your contacts, messages (yesss!), as well as your apps and media.
But seriously, I should say again that I've long sought an elegant text message manager for backups and restores and Mobogenie even makes viewing them in a beautifully-designed chat window a real pleasure. Similarly engaging windows can be found to manage your ever-growing list of contacts, old and new, and makes tidying them up very, very easy. And should you have a desire to use your desktop to view you files and media, again a beautifully designed interface awaits for you to do just that - and it's dang easy to use.
And a few other things to note for fun:
1) Thre are actually some sweet ringtones I've picked up - hey, some wallpapers too!
2) I cannot quite grasp the utility of having the in-client Youtube Browser... it's... something, I suppose
3) Mobogenie designs some pretty beautiful software
4) The backup utility is quite awesome - flexible and easy to use
The Final Question
Should you give it a whirl and become part of the nearly 500 MILLION others using Mobogenie? If you are a voracious app-hound, look no further. Hit that download button and complete tasks like it's your day job. If you are a little more reserved like I am? You'll still find utility in super-easy backups, a very pleasant message, app, and media viewer/manager with the desktop client, and there's still some good stuff to be had, even if you are very selective of what you donwload. Many of you out there might also find the gamified in-app community and features to be a good time in and of itself.
I wasn't particularly fond of the "Music" section as it was mostly 30-40 second preview files, but again, if you're willing to dig through the gobs of all-free offerings, there's probably something of value to find there as well. While I'm still a bit confused by the built-in Youtube player (I'm guessing this is something more sought-after in countries abroad), what I can certainly say for sure is that Mobogenie 2.0 (for mobile) and 3.0 (for the desktop) are really gorgeous pieces of UI and software design. And I can also say that even for a light app user, Mobogenie has stuck around in my app tray and it's helping me keep my mobile life together (and backed up), and I can use every bit of help I can get.