Two amazing phone and tablet apps were launched recently that are epitomes of what is possible nowadays. The first, FNB’s brilliant utility banking app, has raised the bar in terms of functionality. The app is easy to install, easy to link to your profile via online banking and it works. Well.

The second is the awesome Rugby World Cup (RWC) 2011 app, noticeably, but unobtrusively, sponsored by Land Rover and DHL. The constant, seamless updating of the app (have you noticed the shimmer?), happens so quickly it’s hard to pinpoint the update stream. All you really notice is the information is always fresh.

This app uses location-based technology for kick-off times that are always at real time, wherever you happen to be in the world. A simple, quick visit to the app every now and then keeps you in the game, all the time.

What’s also really good about the app is the constant statistic streaming that happens while games are progressing. It improves your television viewing no end, because you’re as up to date with the game as the commentators, sometimes even ahead of them. (Perhaps they should use the app while commentating ;)

Although it’s a bit unfair to compare these two apps, as FNB is focused on functionality over the long term and the RWC app lasts for the tournament, it highlights the importance of functionality combined with brand content.

The RWC app understands brand content and delivers it seamlessly with superb functionality built in. The FNB app suffers a bit from a no content approach.

It’s a pity, because FNB produces useful, relevant corporate brand content, but it’s given to external media without incorporating it into the app. Proper brand content, such as what FNB has readily available, will enhance the experience of utilising the app and add a bit of fun to its functionality.

Imagine an extra menu item “News”, positioned with the other utilities that streams the various bits of info within an FNB brand content context. This should not be a hard-sell brand push, but interesting content, created like a medium would. Now that’s a five-star app!