iPhone apps double as marketing campaigns

If you think all those thousands of free or low-cost iPhone apps that developers are frantically banging out are being created merely for goodwill or enjoyment, think again. As much as any other gewgaw or gimmick companies offer there is a plan that explains the madness, and it's mostly about marketing.

When Stanley Works, the famous maker of hand and power tools, developed its iPhone app, it did so with the idea of introducing the venerable brand to a new generation of consumers, the New York Times reports. Some 400,000 downloads later, the company christened the effort a success, even without knowing whether the app resulted in the single sale of a new hammer or saw.