Universal Mobile Interface

App Stores – Unleashing the mobile potential or building yet more barriers

Posted in UMI by universalmobileinterface on February 24, 2009

At 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona last week a number of initiatives were announced to meet or copy the success of the iPhone.
There are new fantastic UIs, big touch screens and each device with an app store. Looking at the agendas of operators, device manufacturers and games providers etc., I can conclude that many would like to capitalise on their position and now see the app stores as an interesting way to be part of the new mobile trend.
But don’t they miss part of the point here? Is it just to set up an app store and dress the old phone in a new nice UI/touch screen rapping?

If we extrapolate the present trend we end up in a situation with a lot of app stores but does this really meet the needs of the end user and the content providers?
Do we expect end users to accept that whatever apps I buy and install they are lost when I change device manufacturer?
And what about the content providers, do we expect them to make one version of there application for each different operating system?
Even a player like Facebook, (see the clip from Davos) complain about the situation and can’t accept this situation. The new app store hysteria will thereby build yet another barrier for really getting the true potential out of the mobile.

Only few players will have the incentive to be on all these app store and to do what’s necessary to manage this. Then we miss one key element to make the new mobile services valuable to the end user, being that I want to choose my content and applications independently of device brand or operator.
As all these app stores will be based on a number of operating systems, this will for sure limit the application and content richness.
To really get the true value out of the mobile more or less the full long-tail of content has to be available and to make that happen it has to be easy and efficient for content providers to get their stuff out on all mobile platforms.
There is a need for device and operator independent solutions to really unleashing the potential, but unfortunately the present development seems quite the opposite.

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