Election 2010: Some Mobile Developers Put A Price On The Poll

A UK general election may not seem like a particularly clear business opportunity – but that’s not what some enterprising folk think.

Several iPhone apps have cropped up in iTunes Store, alongside parties’ own offerings – and not all are as free as your vote. Here’s how app-makers are chasing a chance that only comes ’round every four or five years…

Election 2010 (£1.19): Strawberry Milkshake developer Stuart Sharpe tells me his app – with live results, constituency profiles, candidate contacts and tweet streams – has clocked 1,500 downloads in under a week and is currently #2 in iPhone’s paid news apps chart. That gives him at least £1,250 so far after Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) takes its 30 percent cut.

Election Results (£0.59): A basic countdown app, it switches to a live results scorecard after polls close.

Political Map (£2.39): Comms agency PPS has been selling its printed guide to who’s in power where for 15 years. PPS’ Adam Browning says its first mobile version is “a bit of an experiment” in a new medium – a branding tool to show off its political connections to potential clients, rather than a money-making opportunity: “These things go out of date within weeks, everybody wants things immediately these days.” Why the higher price? “Maintenance and design is super-expensive. A lot of the £0.59 apps either don’t work or do one trick.” It’s sold 250 in three weeks with no promo and PPS aims to update often between elections.

Election UK (£0.59): For those seeking the broad view, this one by Ask Technosys provides historical data on elections as far back as 1832. The few reviewers so far say some of the info is inaccurate, but the developer tells us it’s achieved 300 downloads.

UK Election (£0.59): It does one thing only – counts down the days until the poll – and developer Wayne Bryant says he has seen only a “pretty small number” of downloads because contract work overtook his ability to promote the app.

Okay, nobody’s getting rich. Roll on 2014…