Sunday, 9 May 2010

Frankly, Tesco, we're getting bored with your iPhone-only apps

It's OK: message received loud and clear.
Both customers and colleagues have been emailing / commenting that there are now three Tesco apps for the iPhone but absolutely none for anything else and that frankly they are getting a bit bored waiting.
It's even reached Twitter:
Well there's only one person to blame for all this and that's me. I started all this nonsense(!) about mobile apps as part of R&D research. I did it on an iPhone because I have an iPhone so it seemed like a good place to start. It helped that Apple had created the most consistent and coherent environment for development and application launch, so issues such as coping with a phone's lack of CPU power and all those different screen sizes and aspect ratios were absent from iPhone.

Oh yes, since I promise honesty on this blog of course a sense of vanity and cool permeated the decision. Tesco being cool, huh?

The success of our apps certainly showed that mobile applications from Tesco sit well with customers and in R&D we had proved that all the technical bases worked, which is what we're here for after all.
However our work now is ensuring we have a coherent API that will support all kinds of phones, so we have concentrated on developing this interface. This work has taken up nearly 100% of R&D time to research requirements and get it right. Once completed, we can do anything we want in the mobile world, on most phones and other devices too, but we have to complete these foundations before the visible applications are built.

While this API work has continued, our leaders have created a comprehensive and very sensible mobile strategy. By 'sensible', they have realised that we shouldn't have a whole load of Tesco apps and that each app does one little task, but a combined application that is best for customers. Take grocery - wouldn't it be great if we took the forthcoming online grocery application (already nearly completed and in user-acceptance testing) and combined it with Tesco Finder so you can order your 'Favourites' list of products online and also sat-nav your way through finding them in any Tesco branch? Now that's much better than two separate apps, and it's something they are looking into for phase two.

To those of you who say that you are upset at the lack of coverage for other phones, here is something to show that we are getting beyond the iPhone:

Is that the Tesco Clubcard app nearly ready for launch on a Nokia N97  through their OVI store in the next few weeks? Yes I think it is! I also have somewhere the Clubcard app running on a Blackberry which I'll show you when I get my hands on it.

Oh and what's this in the Nokia simulator? It looks rather like a grocery ordering app that's coming along just fine:

I also know that members of our newly extended R&D team are getting their teeth stuck into Android development so we can build our in-house expertise on that rapidly growing platform.

So, dear customers and colleagues, a lot of talented people are designing and building the applications you are seeking. The delay is only to ensure that they get them working just right through an extensive programme of design, development, and user-acceptance testing which is running now.

Soon these apps will be yours.


  1. The Nokia grocery ordering app UI actually looks pretty sweet.

    Good to hear that Tesco is moving towards a unified app rather than loads of smaller ones. Can't wait for a updated iPhone grocery app (hopefully with the ability to edit/delete shopping lists!).

  2. Love it! Cannot wait for the Nokia version. It's a major bug-bear for a lot of people that apps are always focussed on the I-Phone first, especially when most people don't have one. S60 is a good place to start, since it seems to be the top in terms of market penetration. Keep up the good work!

  3. Android is growing quickly, you really need to anticipate the market to still on top

  4. will these apps be available to Irish tesco customers?

  5. Can't wait for that Android app! I realise you high flyers see the iphone as the place to be but we cash-strapped Android owners are very likely to also be Tesco shoppers! Nice to see the Ocado app on Android though. Kind of raises the tone of the Android Market! ;-)

  6. Hi John - once the API (which serves these apps) is locked down, and because Tesco Ireland customers have already been upgraded to the new grocery service (ahead of many UK customers!) we will look into how we might provided Ireland- versions of these apps (or more likely one that does both countries).

  7. Just to add my voice to those calling for android apps. There are now officially more android users than iPhone. And now with android 2.2 and all those cheap phone, most people will have android phones by end year.

  8. September now, any news on the android app?

  9. Weekly Tesco online shopper since 2006 would love to have this app for android!

  10. Another voice for the Tesco app on Android. I remember reading that the iPhone one uses the information that the store pickers use, so your shopping list is in the correct order for the store you are visiting.

    This is something that is genuinely useful, and I would really appreciate.

  11. 6 months on and still gasping for an Android app. Just in time for Christmas?

  12. can you give us a rough guide to the universe when an app will be available please, happy android user, just would love tesco on it so my snobby mates who have iphones can stop lording it over me,lol

  13. My Android based HTC Desire HD arrived today.... would love to have your shopping app for it soon. Thanks

  14. I think I'd prefer an Asda app for Android. They are cheaper :)


As this blog grows in readership - and because it carries the Tesco brand - I have had to become more careful about the sort of comments that are acceptable. The good news is that I'm a champion of free speech so please be as praising or as critical as you wish! The only comments I DON'T allow through are:

1. Comments which criticise an individual other than myself, or are critical of an organisation other than Tesco. This is simply because they cannot defend themselves so is unfair and possibly libellous. Comments about some aspect of Tesco being better/worse than another equivalent organisation are allowed as long as you start by saying "in my personal opinion.." or "I think that...". ... followed by a "...because.." and some reasoned argument.

2. Comments which are totally unrelated to the context of the original article. If I have written about a mobile app and you start complaining about the price of potatoes then your comment isn't going stay for long!

3. Advertising / web links / spam.

4. Insulting / obscene messages.

Ok, rules done - now it's your go: