Nomadic Applications

moto.gifThere’s a thought provoking article at The Register on how Motorola think developers should be turning to mobile to capture the large market. The reality is probably somewhat different. Fragmentation of Java (i.e. differences in implementation) across mobile devices is currently the largest barrier to taking advantage of this lucrative market.

However, one comment made me think…

"So one of the key targets developers should hold in mind is "nomadic" – any application that can benefit from being performed where the user is located, rather than where the tools are normally located (such as the office desk and desktop PC, or the hi-fi system at home) is going to stand a good chance of success."

The idea is that with more and mobile devices able to connect affordably (and easily) to the Internet via 3G and WiFi, a new class of applications become more viable. Think beyond email, instant messaging or uploading photos. Think in terms of remote control or remote monitoring and many interesting applications become possible. Here are some examples…

  • Programme your TV set-top box from your phone when you forget to record a TV programme
  • Automatically and silently sync your work PC appointments with your phone
  • Remote monitor the location of children, animals or even valuable items

Some of these things have already been implemented – but not in any affordable or accessible way for the mass market. Another key thing here is that they should be ‘must have’ applications which are indispensable to the user in a particular situation – i.e. Waiting to get back to a work or home PC simply isn’t an option. These are the kinds of things that will cause people to buy a particular phone (or use a particular network operator! i.e. deep Personalisation) to gain access to the service.