Tag Archive for 'wireless developer'

The Future of the Mobile Development Industry; perspective from Sony Ericsson

We are pleased to bring you an interview with Erik Starck, Community Manager, Developer World, Sony Ericsson. Sony Ericsson is a Developer’s Choice sponsor at WIPJam @ CTIA taking place on October 8th in San Diego.

1. What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the industry as a whole?
Definitely the move over to open source platforms. That changes the logic behind innovation creation. As it drives the cost of the platforms down it moves the resources of the entire industry over to applications and services.

2. What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in mobile development specifically?
Well, as a consequence of the above application developers are in a better spot than ever. The playing field has been leveled between developers, carriers and device manufacturers. It’s a better time than ever to be a mobile developer.

3. It’s pretty tough for small mobile development companies to survive on just one device and/or one market. What’s your advice to our mobile developers for growing a successful company?
It’s no different than for any other business. Know your customer and your markets, don’t focus on technology but on the value you can create for your customers. As always, user experience is key. If your coming from a web paradigm there are some things you need to rethink. A person should be able to use your application with one hand while riding a bike. If that’s possible you have a simple enough UI. :)

4. What do you think are the top 2 - 3 mistakes mobile development companies tend to make?
- Don’t be afraid to charge for your product. Free only gets you that far.
- “Distribution, distribution, distribution.” How easy is it to find your app, recommend it to someone, spread it?
- There are lots of “me too”-applications out there. Be innovative, try something new, test the limits!

5. In the global marketplace – what are you seeing that are hot geographic markets?
There’s lots of interesting stuff happening in Africa. In many ways they are ahead of the rest of the world especially when it comes to mobile payments. There are many emerging markets all over the world where the phones on the street are still quite basic, but they will be moving over to more advanced platforms in just a few years. These are markets where the mobile phone will play a key part in peoples’ lives in ways we haven’t fully realized yet.

6. How do you think our mobile developers can take advantage of these hot/growing areas?
The mobile phone is actually the personal phone. Since it such a personal device you really have to understand the cultural context in which you’re trying to sell your application. Maybe you should leave your keyboard and start traveling for a while to get some new ideas.

7. What’s your current role at Sony Ericsson? And how do you think you can support our mobile dev? I’m the community manager at Developer World. We run a developer forum, blogs and have a Twitter account. Join us there!

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The ideal appstore

The theme at  Over the Air 2009 for WIP this year was Appstores, to accompany the launch of the Appstore inventory wiki.

Caroline opened the event with a keynote on titled “It’s raining appstores”, where she went through the characteristics of various appstores and discussed revenue making strategies in this increasingly complex world.

On the second day I organized a quick session ” Draw me your ideal appstore”

Despite the lack of sleep and thanks to the famous Kit-Kat/Snickers/Twix combination we ended up with a rather interesting ideal appstore!

Thanks to Rafe, Andrew, Chris and ??? for their great participation!

The Ideal appstore (click to zoom)

The Ideal appstore (click to zoom)

Of course it might look a idealist, abstract, gibberish if you come fresh at it. So here are a few directions of reflexions that we explored and on which we would most welcome your opinions:

  • Blackbox appstores are inefficient for developers: companies of 20 people now have to dedicated 1 person to do appstore certification and placement!
  • Monopoly in distribution is inefficient for  end users as recommendations’ lack trusted peer approval
  • Download only appstore limit developers’ ability to create a trusted brand and a relations directly with end-users
  • Absence of consumer usage and socio demographic data for developers leads them to produce cul-de-sac products
  • Monolithic approach to pricing and apps bundling limits the ability to be innovative in these fields

The good news is, appstore providers are listening and constantly improving their offerings ,so let them know your thoughts; online at : Appstore inventory wiki or at the Appstore discussion group at WIPJam  @ CTIA or ITU Telecom World.

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Mobile Development Industry: Changes, Success and Hot Markets

Lauren_Thorpe_Casual cropped smLeading up to our WIPJam Session on October 8 @ CTIA in San Diego, we have asked Lauren Thorpe, Senior Director, Developer Relations, Qualcomm Incorporated, a series of questions regarding the mobile industry. Lauren is part of the first WIPJam UnPanel taking place @ 11:15 am.

You’re a veteran in the mobile industry having been with MForma, Helio, THQ and now Qualcomm. What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the industry as a whole?

Finally people are looking at and “touching” their devices rather than just holding them up to their ear. For years I would travel around and observe people while they waited in airports and train stations, desperately trying to find someone who was a potential customer; someone who was playing a game or using an application on their device (other than email, of course). In the early days, while trying to pull marketing materials together there weren’t even any stock photos of people doing things other than talking on a mobile phone. The biggest change I have seen is with people – consumers finally get that there are lots of really cool things you can do on your mobile device besides just talk. We are finally seeing a hint of the full potential of mobile.

What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in mobile development specifically?

Mobile developers have been dealing with device and platform fragmentation for years. This isn’t going away any time soon, especially as new platforms seem to be proliferating. However, during this time, developers have gotten really smart and built some amazing tools and middleware to help manage this complexity. As a result, I believe developers are in a better position to compensate for device variation today. There’s also been a significant change the way user experiences are developed for mobile. In the early days – whether it was for WAP or an application – we brought other experiences to mobile, trying to cram an experience not made for mobile onto a 125 x 125 pixel screen. That’s a miserable user experience! As a development community we have moved on a long way toward “made for mobile”, which enables more positive user experiences and the hope for repeat business.

It’s pretty tough for small mobile development companies to survive on just one device and/or one market. What’s your advice to our mobile developers for growing a successful company?

Reach is clearly important to a developer achieving commercial success. However, it’s important to scale profitably. There are obviously lots of factors that impact this, but I would encourage developers to look for platforms that showcase the quality of their application, underscore their value proposition and deliver a good return, and then look at volume. Stay true to your core values since no amount of scale will make up for a poor user experience.

What do you think are the top 2 - 3 mistakes mobile development companies tend to make?

I think the biggest mistake is probably in building applications for the lowest common denominator device. At one level this simplifies the post-production/backend process. However, it’s likely to be at the expense of the overall end user experience which turns off consumers. Another mistake I’ve seen is in building an application without taking into consideration what platforms and devices it will eventually run on. This requires developers to stay on top of the market and be prepared to respond quickly to trends because putting in touch or accelerometer as an afterthought can degrade an application and definitely drives up cost and time to market.

In the global marketplace – what are you seeing that are hot geographic markets?

Certainly emerging economies are seeing a lot of growth based on advancements in the data capabilities of lower-tier devices. China and India continue to be hot spots of growth. However, we’re also seeing innovation coming out of Latin America. Here I would point to América Móvil, who is bringing more advanced data services to market including mobile widgets and new app stores. In developed markets, it’s fair to say that the iPhone App Store is driving a wave of innovation. The US is a hotbed of activity right now as carriers look to capitalize on the “new” app store phenomenon.

How do you think our mobile developers can take advantage of these hot/growing areas?

From a business perspective, Operators and OEMs are moving to create marketplaces for their various platforms. They *need* a strong development community – the more diverse the better – so in a sense the market is wide open. However, this creates a bit of a paradox. There seem to be too many go-to-market options. Developers can benefit by seeking out companies that are actively building cross-platform and cross-channel ecosystems to help them scale and address a broader set of opportunities. The can also look at partnering with aggregators to enter new markets, sharing revenue, but also risk as they prove out the opportunity. Once developers have identified their channel, there’s the challenge of scaling technically. Here developers can look at building apps in a way that makes it easy to swap out resources, for example supporting multiple languages by making it easy to swap out text files. They can also look at developing relationships with local porting shops to be able to correctly cover local devices with lower start up costs.

What’s your current role at Qualcomm? And how do you think you can support our mobile development companies’ growth?

Now I can provide a much better answer to your earlier question of how mobile developers can take advantage of global opportunities! At Qualcomm, I am responsible for growing our developer ecosystem. This means helping developers find cost efficient, high revenue paths to market working with more than 60 operators, more than 60 device makers and across more than 1,000 handset models worldwide. In terms of practical details, we work side by side with developers to identify commercial opportunities and provide a channel through which they can address them. We continue to introduce developers to new products like Plaza Mobile Internet – an end-to-end widget solution – and Plaza Retail – our device and platform agnostic storefront – in addition to the BREW solution. Lastly, we are working to streamline the process of porting, testing and commercializing against multiple devices across multiple networks worldwide. We have some interesting updates coming over the next few months in this regard so stay tuned!

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You’re on an app store; now what?

We’ve asked our speakers and sponsors to provide some blog fodder as a lead up to our WIPJam Session on October 8 @ CTIA in San Diego!

mitch_oliver_croppedThe following is brought to you by Mitch Oliver, vice president of ecosystem development for Qualcomm.

Although the mobile applications market has been evolving since 2001, the year Qualcomm launched one of the first app stores with BREW, the pace of innovation has picked up significantly over the past two years. Following the launch of the iPhone 3G in 2008, with which Apple became the poster-child for the modern day “App Store”, there has been a proliferation of market channels for mobile apps.

This competition for attention appears to be paying dividends for developers. Industry efforts to improve the quality of tools, lower the cost of testing and certification, speed time to market, and (most importantly) promote these solutions to consumers have resulted in an explosion of applications. While a catalog of several hundred applications used to be considered a well-stocked store, now the benchmark may be more like the thousands.

The problem is that it’s getting harder and harder for developers to stand out in today’s mobile app stores. A lucky few have a truly ground-breaking application, or sufficient negotiating power, to get featured in a national ad campaign or placed at the top of the store. What about the rest?

This is an increasingly well documented problem in the blogosphere. While a long-tail of content is ultimately good for the consumer, developers need new ways to manage the marketing of their application in a crowded space and consumers need better ways to filter their choices. Here, we’d like to offer a few thoughts on the things that developers should be asking of their app store partners to improve the merchandising and management of their applications:

  • Tools that allow developers to directly influence consumer purchase behavior. These can encompass traditional promotional vehicles such as in-store banners and microstores, but consideration should also be given to the use of externally driven tools such as deep-linking to content in the storefront from messages or third party sites (developer websites, social networks). Flexible pricing models, including trials, time-based “passes”, upgrades, and two-fers, in addition to paid placements are also important elements in the promotional mix.

  • A strong recommendations engine is a big plus. This exposes consumers to a broader range of content than they may have otherwise discovered while also managing the paradox of choice. By allowing the right content to find willing consumers over time, and moving from search to discovery, the overall ecosystem can support a greater range of viable, long-tail content . In Qualcomm’s experience content uplifts in excess of 20% are possible with good quality recommendations.

  • Lastly, reporting and analytics tools that allow developers to track their performance, understand revenue drivers and evaluate the impact of placement, campaigns and pricing models are key to bring this all together and optimize the marketing mix. These should be simple, straightforward and offer a way to compare different channels.

Qualcomm is addressing a number of these areas today with the Plaza suite of products. However, we also need to come together as an industry to truly realize the potential of mobile merchandising and marketing. Join me at the upcoming WIPJAM @ CTIA for a lively discussion on merchandising and marketing your applications. Look forward to jamming with you!

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Carnival of Mobilists #188

Hosted by Judy Breck at GoldenSwamp.com, Carnival #188 is a celebration of the Frog Days of Summer, featuring this week’s featured mobilist blogging that is is brimming with ideas and information. It Includes an article from Jose Colucci at MobileStrategy, who blogs as a Canadian consumer of financial services. His article, “12 Reasons Why Canadian Banks Should Really Offer Mobile Services” is very interesting. Mobile banking… hmmm - stay tuned.

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Carnival of Mobilists #186

Carnival #186 at allaboutiPhone.net is a speed write from host Matt Radford that deftly touches important bases so you can jump to the week’s best mobile blogging. Check out Chetan Sharma’s latest US Wireless Data Market Update - Q2 2009. It’s crammed full of interesting analysis including the following: The App vs. Mobile Web discussion reached a surprisingly new crescendo. The evolution is pretty clear - for the applications that don’t require significant UI resources, it will be better to develop in for the browser, for intensive games, the native platform will be ahead of the browser advances. The location API access on the iPhone browser is breakthrough to have developers start thinking about the webapps.

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WIP Opportunities @ CTIA

Be Scene @ CTIA

Great news for WIP members! Here are 3 ways to get involved with WIP @ CTIA in San Diego, CA. (Not a WIP member? Register here!)

1. Developer Pavilion at CTIA
Wednesday, October 7 - Friday, October 9, 2009
Fully pimped out booth (5′ x 10′ for $2,000.00) and valuable extras
Deadline August 7 for full benefits!

2. Pepcom - Mobilefocus@CTIA WIRELESS IT&E 2009
October 7, 2009; 7:00 - 10:00 pm
At the Omni in San Diego
20% WIP Member Discount

3. WIPJAM @CTIA
Thursday October 8, 2009
Don’t forget to sign up to Jam with us!

Here is more information on these great opportunities!
wite2009-for-newsletter
Developer Pavilion at CTIA
Wednesday, October 7 - Friday, October 9, 2009

Become an exhibitor at the CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment Show with us!
We’ve secured a great rate and valuable extras for WIP members and partners at the Developer Pavilion. Fully pimped out booths are available in 2 sizes:
• 5’ x 10’ booth for $2,000.00 USD
• 10’ x 10’ booth for $3,800.00USD

All booths include:

• 2 chairs
• table (3′ for 5′x10′ booth, 6′ for 10′x10′ booth)
• Electricity (5 amps)
• 5 exhibitor passes to the keynotes and onto the exhibit show floor
• guest passes for customers
• 50 word company description in both the show guide pavilion section as well
as in the regular exhibitor listings. (deadline Aug 7)
• company listing in the cross reference section of the show guide(deadline Aug 7)
• sign identifying each exhibitor hung from the back wall drape
• opportunity to provide a logo to be placed above the company description in
the pavilion section of the show guide. (deadline Aug 7)

WIP is also going to provide a WIP Developer Pavilion Show guide, along with marketing and promotion for the exhibitors before and during the show.

Next Steps:
Go to the Pavilion web page for contracts and registration.
Contact us if you have any questions or require further information.
The deadline is fast approaching so act now!

Pepcom - Mobilefocus@CTIA WIRELESS IT&E 2009

October 7, 2009; 7:00 – 10:00 pm
At the Omni in San Diego
20% WIP Member Discount

MobileFocus is the #1 mobile and wireless press showcase event - held at both CTIA conferences and at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Pepcom is offering a 20% discount on the price of a table to any WIP member company that has not previously done a Pepcom event. There will be special signage to identity APP developers at the event! MobileFocus is a great opportunity to demo your products and services to a huge press audience. To take advantage of this great offer, please contact Jon Pepper (jon at pepcom dot com) and mention the “WIP” offer. Space is limited so act fast.

WIPJam @ CTIA

Please register for this popular “Day for Developers”. We have now held WIPJams, miniJams and Jam Receptions on four continents! Jam On!

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Carnival of Mobilists #185

Join the throng at Mobileslate.com’s first Carnival of the Mobilists as Eric Chan hosts #185 with this spectacular carnival crowd illustration. Included is an article by Andy Favell of mobiThinking who writes about “Why recession is a great time to invest in mobile”. I think we can all agree that in this recession, one of the few things people are not parting with is their mobile.
carnivale1851

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Carnival of the Mobilists #183 - Mobile World Analysis

This week’s Carnival is hosted at TamsIJungle, with some select mid-summer analysis of the mobile world. Great content has been listed including WIPs Back from Linuxtag so take a look.

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Back from LinuxTag… with a Eureka feeling!

Following our Europe Open Source in mobile WIPjam tour, here’s the second blog in a short series summarizing the tour.

So if we do not want openness in mobile to equal opensourness soon can we really limit it to opensourceness and exclude other aspects of openness such as open development, open governance…

The first answer to the question came from a very unexpected angle and (un?) surprisingly from a non mobilist Tomcat from Mozilla. [For background information Mozilla Christian Sejersen was presenting on Fennec (Firefox for mobile) at the show and one of our discussion leaders at the WIPJam.]

The conversation had started very badly though on the slippery subject of certification and signing. The subject is fairly commonly referred to as the rock and the hard place of debates between mobile application developers. And it usually takes strong moderational talents to navigate around them… On that day I failed… But when the subject is usually the beginning of an endless (if partially justified) rant against operators and device manufacturers, despite their efforts to facilitate the lives of mobile developers* this time it actually revealed a gem… A comparison with the extension certification process as operated by Mozilla for the most famous Firefox extensions (before you click on the link believing that this is pointing towards a hugely interesting extension for Firefox this is actually a link to the process…)

Let’s imagine the world of mobile applications adopting the Firefox extension approach tomorrow:

  • Developers write their applications, submit it to a sandbox / beta mobile app store. Obviously before doing so they are able to test them extensively with a series of tools, looking at memory leaks, compatibility test, traffic analyzers… all available in open source.
  • A group of volunteers (editors) pick up the various proposals from the queue to evaluate and test them and communicate directly with the authors to discuss potential issues (with nice recommendations to editors such as “Remember that your comments go to a *real person*, so try to be friendly”. Or more and more let the public know that the apps are in beta and use crowd testing.
  • Once approved by peers the application is published unsigned onto the mobile app store, all applications are displayed on the main page using a publicly disclosed mechanism.
  • End users discover the apps on the appstore, a bit like they do today, by category, recommended, featured… and they trust the appstore just like they do today.. they trust that all the verification work has been done and therefore are more than happy to ignore warnings saying unsigned application… and despite that… they get a fully functional application

Simple! Happy developers! Happy customers! Open!

Obviously various mobile certification programs have started implementing some of this approach (do not hesitate to post spot the difference type comments), but still no one can claim to be this transparent and open today.

A pipedream in mobile? Completely unrealistic in the wireless world? How do me make money if nothing protects apps? Maybe, and all good subject of a lively debate here or at our next WIPJam session… One thing is sure though… something like this could come to a Fennec near you in the coming months…

* Background reading on certification :see the new Java verified process , the Symbian Signed 2009 roadmap, the Android Market, the well documented Apple process and each operator specific variety).

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