Deeper Apps

genericmobile.gifBeing at the front line of receiving potential clients’ new ideas, I often experience trends just before they are about to happen. I am currently seeing a trend for deeper apps.

Before the iPhone and Android era, many companies had great ideas for apps that integrated deeply into the phone. For example, they used SMS, MMS, telephony events (start/end of call etc), manipulated or created audio, background processing or other such things that were truly innovative. These ideas were, at the time, always prototyped on Nokia S60 (Symbian) as this was the most ubiquitous and API-capable platform. Many ideas didn’t go any further than S60 because the required APIs weren’t available on other platforms and other hardware OEMs weren’t that interested in including such ideas in device builds.

Now that iPhone and Android dominate, we might have hundreds of thousands of apps but the majority of them do absolutely nothing except display information. However, I am starting to see a trend of ideas for deeper apps. Maybe the market has matured. Whatever the reason, I am seeing more app ideas that are attempting to integrate deeper into the phone. This time around, the ‘go to’ platform for proof of concepts is Android primarily because many things people want to do on iPhone either can’t be done or sit in the gray area of what/what isn’t allowed of iPhone background apps. As an aside, while S60 (Symbian) isn’t dead yet and Nokia promise another 150 million shipped devices, the message I am getting from stakeholders (people who fund or buy such projects) is that a Nokia S60 Symbian demo isn’t good enough any more. They want to see it on iPhone or Android.

In some cases, the new ideas I am seeing are so deep they can’t even be implemented on Android. In these cases it’s necessary to get the app included in an OEM phone build. The difference this time around is that phone OEMs are much much more interested in new ideas so that they can differentiate their (Android) devices.