Showing posts with label Mobile app stores. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mobile app stores. Show all posts

Monday, 6 February 2012

Killer Apps Ecosystem

I have just updated the section on killer apps in general, as a) I read a good quote that gelled some thoughts on it, and b) had a discussion with a colleague in the industry that got me thinking, as well as the fact that I have as much more work in 2011 on SMS and HTML5 than on apps in 2009 and 2010... http://www.mobilekillerapp.com/p/killer-apps-in-general.html

Friday, 3 February 2012

HTML5 vs. Native app development

The HTML 5 vs Native debate was raging yesterday in the Mobile Monday London event (see my digest on this blog) and will continue to for a long time, just as the java vs. native did and the widget vs. native did, and just as much as the "which OS choice/debate" I discuss here in my blog as well

The reality is blurring with recent announcements of high profile games on HTML5 like cut the rope however the issues that I found when heading up the iPhone porting for Voda 360, the first major W3C HTML with APIs if not HTML5 still remain even with these successes.

Then I go out into the market and hear some game developers doing cross platform, some adopting HTML and other focusing on the multiple approach of iOS and Android, looking at HTML5 to cover the rest. That is with games at least, and will be the case of many apps with access to low level functions and APIs (beyond GPS, audio, video, etc).

With certain apps it is much clearer:  I spoke to a developer of a major social network that was launched recently who said they would never have gone native if they did it over again: the user experience is just two fragmented between the web, tablets and the main app OSs and then mobile web. I also know users who have ditched native apps for social networks in favour of the HTML5 experience: quicker, closer to the web, the same on tablet as smartphone and the closet to their web experience... and as a result I specified a social network for a client recently in html5 with native in potential roadmap...

Then there are the mobile operator clients considering portals and app store, more relevant to my portal blog, but still very interesting for the case in hand: Its important to maintain flexibility in these situations, and fix your roadmap (in scope) only for one or at most two quarters ahead. Just recently, for example, a mobile operator client was faced with a situation where their development on an app store/portal was lead natively on two platforms with another two following and another two in roadmap... when Microsoft announced that W7 was going to be a closed environment, symbian split, meego was sidelined and RIM became evidently more fragmented (bb5 vs bb6 vs bb7, etc) then the option was very clearly android plus... native or java or HTML5. It was still a little early then, but the answer would be much clearer today.

So, with so much depending on what you are doing where and with whom... and so much social, regional and international fragmentation, however there are some key considerations to take into account:
  1. what device is it running on? which will affect many things, but in short, running in  a sandbox without native extensions will be slower on things like
  2. refresh rate: while low end Java devices and even proprietary runtimes like Offscreen Media's were running 50-100 frames per second, the first web runtimes were at 3-5, with the best developers on best devices eeking out 10-15. Even if you get this much higher, its still a limiting factor over native, and those pushing the boundaries will always prefer native
  3. how many platforms are you going to distribute on. Its all very very well having a cross platform app and cross platform intentions, but do you have the time and resources to update APIs across 20 stores, check 100's devices, upload across many platforms, have the project management and roadmap skills to manage the process, etc, etc.
  4. What is your target audience now and later. if you are going after advanced users and then mass market then native first, html5 later maybe an option, if revered, then reversed, obviously. if you have a product like Sonos, why go to the extra effort of making the platform universal when all your customers will have at least one android or iOS phone or tablet at their disposal?
  5. What regions are you looking at? HTML5 will play better to strong growths in ever cheaper smartphones, like Africa, vs those with a solid smartphone base (Nokia in parts of Asia and Latam, others varied in US, Europe and ROW)
  6. Do the stores you are planning to roll-out on have the features and APIs you want? There is no point creating your freemium app that requires in-app upgrades or subscriptions in HTML5 for flexibility if it would have been quicker to do it natively in the two stores that support what you want to do, and the ad serving and other APIs are completely different in each deployment
  7. Do you want to be off-line?
  8. Do you want to obfuscate and/or only have certain functionality using server based algorithms for extra security.
Its interesting times, I shall be updating this article as more interactions with clients and colleagues provide more scenarios, and will announce those changes here at my Google+ and my company, Virtuser's Google+


Monday, 23 January 2012

... main page archive ...

Not a lot has changed since my first posts of 2006 from the original blog below, so here is a small update as I bring it over to Blogger; when we were doing some of the first mass-distribution apps (nokia festival guides pushed to 100,000 of festival goers on over 1,000 different devices) or 2008 when we saw the iphone taking grip. Back then, everybody who went to the festival wanted the app, just not everybody could have it.

Now, everybody wants the apps, and thanks to iPhone and then android quite a few people can have them. What has changed, I hear you cry, is that its not just the odd app, there is an app for everything. To which I will answer: yes, however, even with 500,000 apps on the app store, and 100 apps on my phone, I only use a few of them on a daily basis, and they have not changed that much:
  • News and magazines have been revolutionised by the iPad, obviously, but even on smartphones, with apps like Pulse
  • PIM is generally managed by social apps these days, but also on OS
  • Entertainment has skyrocketed: doodlebug, cut the rope, angry birds, etc need no introduction, neither do ebook apps
  • Travel evolved from apps like tripit to more social environments like PIM did: foursqaure, facebook places and more... also specific apps like tubeexits and apps to check buses, trains and even Boris (BoJo) bikes are making travel that bit more civilised, unless you are travelling low-cost by air, and then you are stuffed :)
So what else? well to be honest the world is going social, and with that you have 90% of what most people use daily, and what is driving apps:
  • Smartphones
  • Mobile social networking
  • Mobile networks driving point 1, but not necessarily directly driving point 2! MNO app strategy has to diversify post Vodafone 360, Blackberry app store, Ovi and other carrier and handset manufacturer and OS providers attempts to mimic an iPhone down approach rather than focussing on their strengths and a multilateral approach to enagaging data users.
  • Interesting apps and games by interesting people, this first revolution happened when everybody embraced iOS and then Android, but will skyrocket with HTML5 giving access to everybody, not just coders, to build great (and crap!) content

Original post from 2006 on "So what is driving mobile applications":
  • Personal Information Management (PIM), as we move from a world of "this is my laptop and I cannot work until I have Outlook and Office premium edition installed" to a world of 1gb Gmail and MSN, basically our info has become centralised. trying to access this info via WAP will be, well challenging, and if you do not know your pop3 settings for your PC, why will you for your mobile: the Gmail ODP is clearly the way forward
  • News/RSS/etc. lets face it; news WAP site are terrible, and RSS is that terrible combination of boring and complicated... get with it, I would download an ODP for The Register, the FT and the BBC tomorrow, and in doing so a) visit their site more often, and b) forget their competition forever!
  • Magazines; We all have our favourite magazines, some have tried to become MVNOs, most have email newsletters to capture our imagination mid-print. However, our consumption is changing, we now forgive print for being up to 2 months out of date for a monthly magazine because of all the glossy pictures and the ability to relax on the sofa on a Sunday or on a flight thumbing the pages... but at the moment we go elsewhere for the mid-week fix, in the form of different web-sites, weekly magazines, etc. The sensible magazine would reward and keep our custom with up-to the second info on what of their mag most matters to me, you and the guy in the lounge with the same magazine as me who will be sitting in seat 2C, but needs to know about the latest gadget as or before it hits the press releases.
  • Entertainment: Calling a number and going through an IVR system is no way to order a gig or cinema ticket, and there is no graphical means of representing the purchase, or a map, or any other potentially useful information. a cinema application, lets you browse gigs and events and even bars, see where they are, read reviews and, most importantly allows people to browse and make a purchase in their own time, as well as receive info and even original media (you only get this ringtone if you order via mobile) as well as the other keepsakes like the tickets, which can be sent in the post as usual. A mobile app also allows people to browse events after hours and on the weekends, when these kind of purchase decisions are made. If you have done your research on Channels to market by personality types, MBTI, etc. you will also know that IVR/telephone only appeals to extroverts in nature, which is OK-ish in the US, where 50% of your client base will make impulse purchases via an outgoing means, but in the UK and most of Europe that is as low as 30% of your market.
  • Travel. My problem with Lastminute.com in the late nineties, is the same problem I have with Lastminute.com, and every other travel provider over ten years later; who wants to browse holidays on their computer? Well quite a lot it seems, however, as with entertainment above, a lot of impulse purchases would be done via mobile. Moreover, more peripheral orders would be done via mobile, such as hire car, hotels, restaurants, tours, guides, etc. As the application already knows you are going to Rome on the 12th September. However, the other day I woke up particularly early on a Saturday and decided to see if I could get a ticket to Santander, which places you in the death grip of Ryanair only if you live in London... their website could not even sell me a ticket on the same, day. Instead there was a message to ring reservations... Reservations had another message that it was out of hours and to ring a premium number... I had to ring three times to get the number down (buying golden numbers to help your customers would just be a waste of money wouldn't it!). I finally rang an extremely expensive number 3 times to be told "the other party has hung up". You may argue that if Ryanair cannot even get their web and phone channel in order, what would they do with a mobile app? That is the glass half empty approach, the glass half full is: what is Ryanair, Easyjet and even the flag carriers like British Airways, doing without a way to browse, and buy tickets via mobile in order to gain a competitive advantage, or in the case of Ryanair, to actually have a same-day channel at all!
originally posted by Christian Borrman 22:19pm 20/12/06, updated 12:56pm 15/05/08