The Mobile App Landscape
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The Mobile App Landscape

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A more strategic, high-level version of my normally more technical mobile apps talk. Slides themselves are pretty sparse, so check out the speaker notes for more detail.

A more strategic, high-level version of my normally more technical mobile apps talk. Slides themselves are pretty sparse, so check out the speaker notes for more detail.

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  • Hi I&#x2019;m Jonathan Stark and I am obsessed with mobile computing :) <br />
  • Probably stating the obvious, but I want to start with the big picture. Mobile is huge and its growth is accelerating: <br /> - Cell phone subscriptions to hit 5 billion on 2010 <br /> - 15% of phones sold in 2009 were smart phones <br /> - 56% of public Wi&#x2011;Fi connections in 2009 were from mobile devices <br /> <br /> What&#x2019;s significant about this is that in our lifetimes we&#x2019;re going from virtually no one having access to information, to virtually everyone having access to the biggest repository of human knowledge that has ever existed. <br /> <br /> As Google CEO Eric Schmidt says, &#x201C;this is an enormous achievement for humanity.&#x201D; <br />
  • Unless you&#x2019;re a telco or handset manufacturer, your entry point into the mobile space is apps. <br /> <br />
  • There are three types of mobile apps that I think will remain relevant for a long time: <br /> - Native apps (e.g. WebEx, SalesForce) <br /> - Web apps (e.g. Gmail, Google Calendar) <br /> - Command line apps (e.g. Google SMS, Twitter, Aardvark) <br /> <br />
  • Developers love endlessly debating the pros and cons of each of these approaches, but ultimately, each has one glaring achilles heel. <br />
  • The right one for you depends on your situation: <br /> - Selling iPhone cases in U.S.? Native app <br /> - Selling office supplies in North America? Web app <br /> - Providing banking services in rural China? SMS app <br /> <br />
  • I typically work with corporate clients who are trying to reach a really broad market with their apps. They want to be on iPhone, Android, and Blackberry at least. <br /> <br /> - Platform is easy to learn, most orgs have web talent in house already. <br /> - Web is a proven, stabile platform that works reasonably well across the widest range of devices. <br /> - Host your app and email out the links. <br /> - No approval process, no multiple app stores, no delay on bug fixes. <br /> <br /> BOTTOM LINE: <br /> It&#x2019;s easier to produce quality content and services for the largest available market with web apps. <br />
  • I want to drill down on a native vs web for a second because I know that there is a lot of confusion there. <br />
  • Point out that web apps can run 100% offline using HTML5. <br />
  • Actually, you don&#x2019;t have to really pick between native and web. Single code base that can be deployed as a standalone web app AND deployed with addition functionality through the various app stores. <br />
  • <br />
  • <br />
  • I think this is the most pragmatic development approach. If nothing else, it&#x2019;s the most flexible. And the way things are growing at this point, flexibility is of the utmost importance. <br />
  • Regardless of the development approach you take, you need to make a useful app. <br />
  • Mobile apps must be: <br /> <br /> - Fast: Useful in line at the ATM <br /> - Launch fast <br /> - Save state on quit <br /> - Very responsive; lots of feedback <br /> - Mirrors in the elevator story: The problem isn&#x2019;t that your app is slow; the problem is that *people think* your app is slow. Solution is to make them think it&#x2019;s fast, one way or another. <br /> <br /> - Simple: Be laser focused on primary use case <br /> - Tell the &#x201C;large american office supply store RPF&#x201D; story <br /> <br /> - Smart: Leverage sensor data and personal info <br /> - Basically a subset of Fast <br /> - User input options are still pretty bad; try to minimize need for manual input <br /> <br /> <br />
  • <br />
  • If you love your UI, set it free :) <br /> <br /> Device fragmentation is necessitating custom interfaces. It doesn&#x2019;t make sense to render content and services the same way on a phone, a tablet, a laptop, etc. <br /> <br /> Not only are the form factors significantly different, but the context in which these devices are used varies widely. <br /> <br /> Why is sync bad? <br /> - It&#x2019;s expensive to write <br /> - It implies &#x201C;occasional&#x201D; <br /> - There is no &#x201C;expected behavior&#x201D; <br /> <br /> You need to be thinking real-time, all the time. <br /> <br /> <br />
  • I am NOT a security expert, but I do want to call out some concerns specific to mobile computing. <br />
  • It&#x2019;s highly unlikely that one of your employees is going to accidentally leave his PC in a bar one night. As Steve Jobs knows all too well, the same is not true for mobile computing devices ;) <br /> <br /> Despite their small size, the data on a smartphone is intensely sensitive. Gaining access to someone&#x2019;s smartphone allows a hacker to easily impersonate you. <br /> <br /> Think about what a hacker could do with access to your email account - it&#x2019;s chilling. <br /> <br /> Of course, this isn&#x2019;t a security concern that is limited to mobile, but there are two things that exacerbate the issue: <br /> <br /> - Phone is easier to lose than desktop <br /> - Passwords are more annoying on phone than desktop <br /> <br /> Side note on iPad not supporting multiple user accounts. <br />
  • We are going to be inundated with internet-enabled, touchscreen interfaces of all shapes and sizes. <br /> <br /> Clients will be thin and the heavy lifting will be done in the cloud. <br /> <br /> Real-time, all the time. <br /> <br /> <br />

Transcript

  • 1. The Mobile App Landscape Jonathan Stark
  • 2. Huge & Growing • ~4.6 billion cell phone subscriptions • Smart phone share at 15% • 56% of public Wi‑Fi connections were from mobile devices
  • 3. Mobile Apps
  • 4. Types of Mobile Apps • Native apps • Web apps • Cmd line apps
  • 5. Types of Mobile Apps • Native apps - Fragmentation • Web apps - Sandboxing • Cmd line apps - Discoverability
  • 6. Types of Mobile Apps The approach that is best for you depends on your goals and target market.
  • 7. Web Apps Win • Cheapest to produce • Most standardized • Easiest to distribute
  • 8. Native vs Web
  • 9. Considerations Native Web Depends Cosmetics X Functionality X Development X Testing X Distribution X Payment X Support X
  • 10. Hybrid Apps PhoneGap gives developers the best of both worlds.
  • 11. Considerations Native Web Depends Cosmetics X Functionality X Development X Testing X Distribution X Payment X Support X
  • 12. Considerations Native Web+PG Depends Cosmetics X Functionality X Development X Testing X Distribution X Payment X Support X
  • 13. Conclusion If you can build your app with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, then you probably should.
  • 14. Mobile App Design
  • 15. Good Mobile Apps Are... • Fast • Simple • Smart
  • 16. Legacy Systems
  • 17. Web Services • APIs are good • Sync is bad • Caching locally is not sync
  • 18. Security
  • 19. Security • Handset passwords • Remote wipe • Network concerns same as web
  • 20. Future of Mobile • Unprecedented fragmentation • Thin clients accessing cloud services • Real-time data