Tuesday, 10 March 2009

application use is going mobile

I'm really excited about what's coming with the Google Android platform and what it can mean to developing and using applications when mobile. We've always been so restricted in how we can use the amazing applications that have been developed. 

Finally I can see the opportunity to take all this ability with us whereever we are. 

So as part of my research before I take the plunge I watched an intro lecture.  

It began by showing a graph that clearly shows that the future of software is mobile. Not just internet use. I've begun to feel that for a while. This made it clear. In 2007 there were 1.1 billion pcs in the world but over 4 billion mobile phones. the disparity is increasing. That makes total sense to me because pcs are big, expensive and aren't designed to be on all the time and go where we go. Phones are. 

Everything I want to develop I want to be able to use whenever I get the urge. I want it to travel with me. Thus I want a few things. Devices that I can take everywhere or that are in the places I go and easy for me to use. I also want an operating system that can run on these devices. 

That's what android is. I like the concept of the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) that is trying to coordinate all this.  

the talk also explains the 5 groups involved at present that comprise the 20 or so partners of the OHA
  • Mobile Operators
  • Handset Manufacturers
  • Software
  • Semiconductor
  • Commercialisation
I'm glad that this was explained. It's how I see things and why I prefer the Google (Open) approach to those of Microsoft and Apple. My understanding of economics is that if you want to make a lot of money so your company can effectively feed and grow and become nice and fat then you need to dominate a market. Several markets to get really big and fat. You can probably see the biological influence in my analogy. The best way to achieve this is not to control the market and keep it small which is how I percieve Microsoft and Apple do things. Very much the 20th Century approach to control everything and hold things back. 

It's much better to find ways to make the market much bigger. Get more and more consumers interested. Make things people want to pay a lot of money for, make it easy to create newer and better things so there is a constant churn of cash. A real cash cow is when your products and services make it easier for your clients to make more money. If you do that then they're just gonna keep wanting what you provide. As they get fat on their profits so will you. Pure symbiosis in action in markets. To me that's the way to go about making money and operating a business in a market. Develop symbiotic relationships with customers and partners. Isn't it better to just keep growing the market. That way you're less concerned with the number of competitors because there's plenty of food for everyone. As long as each participant in the market adds something to it and everybody learns to share or atleast they find the balance between what to share and what to keep private. Everybody wins. 

It's a dream, but you can probably see why, I'm following what happens. I hope, like many things that are going on at the moment, it's a lesson for the future on how to get more with less and spend more time enjoying life. 

so any way. The concept of the OHA is that everyone in the alliance needs something from the other partners. They all depend on each other. Apples iphone doesn't open things up to everyone. It keeps a lot of things both hardware and software related under tight control. That means only certain companies can join the party. OHA's approach invites everyone and tries to help many kinds of customer not just those who can afford or are attracted to an iphone. 

One key apsect for me is that I can develop for android and it this app will work on my netbook as well as my mobile and of course it can work on my pc or laptop. e.g. everywhere. In the short term this will be awkward but long term I bet it will become simple. With the iphone I can't do this. 

I've already found out that android is essentiall j2se or me. Not sure yet but it's a standard language. so it's gonna be familiar already. 

I think in some ways I'm suggesting that this is just part of the evolution of both software and hardware. I feel the processes of natural evolution are being played out and we've already seen much of this. Business models, development processes, technological advances. As these all improve it's only natural tyhat tools built using these will also adapt and improve ahnd often change fundamental. Leave the water and move to the land for example. 

You see they've just been explaining how open the approach is. One key thing is that the develop does not have to get permission or pass a test to release their app. I understand that companies like Apple do this to ensure that everything is of high quality. That's great but there are other ways of achieving top standards without restricting things. It's just that it takes more effort. People often perceive that there are more risks but I feel there are as many risks of being too closed and controlling as there are of being too open. If you're too closed you just cannot match the evolutionary speed of open aps. You also can't meet the security standards because it's dependent on your ability to both identify and fix bugs. In these and so many other areas more eyes, hands and minds are better than few. It just demands better tools to handle masses of opinion, ideas and discussion. Better tools to help individuals gain meaning from the relentless oflow of decisions and info. And tools to manage the huge number of requests and ideas a developer, for example, may receive. 

So basically to be more open we need tools adapted to this new environment. I feel Google and others are addressing this need, often while providing tools that are free at the point of use. So I prefer the business models and approaches of the newer companies and those who have adapted their models to suit such as Sun, with their Java language, to those using outdated models.

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