Speakers’ Corner: The trouble with today’s apps


Innovation is a word regularly used when discussing the smartphone market, but take a closer look and you can’t help but feel it’s in spite of the operating system, rather than because of it.

In recent years, application developers have been the catalysts in creating an innovative environment but have achieved this off their own back. They’re looking to explore new boundaries but need an operating system which supports their requirements.

Reciting Henry Ford’s famous comment on consumer’s wishes, “If I’d asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” His observation aptly describes the mobile applications market today. Consumers are currently offered applications which operate in silos within their phone, but why should this be the case?

Think about your day, when you wake up in the morning and check your phone for news and friends’ updates, you currently have to open and close numerous application doors to gather the news you want. We’re increasingly living in a world of integration and in most cases, mobile phones, the device used by most people to gather information is operating in a disconnected fashion.

Customers’ needs are constantly evolving and the current application market is lagging behind. As an attempt to meet these needs, the river of applications has turned into a torrent but it’s become a numbers game. This has resulted in developers being forced into playing catch-up and has created an unsatisfying experience for both themselves and consumers.

Technology is based on the notion of anticipating the demands of tomorrow, but today’s mobile applications market is languishing as yesterday’s news. Ask customers in a year’s time and they’ll be astonished that their applications ever operated in such a sterile and isolated way

There is a new breed of application technician, developer and part designer, and they want to change the status quo. Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 series is an example of an operating system that truly integrates the experience.

Developers will no longer have to create applications to work in isolation.  They’ll now have the potential to connect content from the web and the phone’s DNA to offer a joined up experience. Imagine the information you have in your current applications. As an example, Facebook and Twitter both store a great detail on friends and colleagues, but that’s where it stays, locked away in the confines of those applications.

Similarly, consider the disjointed way in which you use your phone, and then your PC, and then back to your phone, with this trend repeating day in, day out. Because of this, developers have been creating different codes for each device, reducing the likelihood of making a profit due to time and investment constraints.

Developers are seeking a platform which only requires one code for their application to work across all devices. The cross-pollination between PC and mobile will allow consumers to view content on both devices.

Developers will thrive on the tools provided by such a platform and the apps ecosystem is on the cusp of a revolution. The elasticity of innovation is set be fully realised and Windows Phone 7’s OS is an example of one of the enablers in this overhaul. Henry Ford was right to empower his engineers and we’re set to provide developers with what they need to pioneer the future.