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UK Government Should Encourage iPhone App Development

News about the UK government planning to spend tens of thousands of pounds on developing applications for the iPhone and possibly other mobile platforms tricked this morning thanks to a Freedom of Information request.

Apparently, the DVLA wanted to earmark up to £40,000 to develop an iPhone application for UK drivers.

Ironically, the same DVLA ordered Autotrader to remove the image recognition element of the firm's iPhone app, back in March 2010 (opens in new tab), because it apparently conflicted with its code of ethics.

The coalition government has already promised that it will encourage developers to use publicly-available data to provide with useful applications, either online or on mobile platforms.

It would have been more effective if the government had left the market to come up with its own apps rather than try to compete with them at a significant cost.

There are already a number of iPhone apps - like the Autotrader one - which provides a number of nifty features for car users and had they been given more guidance and leeway from the likes of the DVLA, they'd possibly thrive amidst increase competition.

Maybe the government should allocate the App budget to fund a competition to get developers to put apps for its various departments on iTunes and leave the users to decide which one is the best.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.