Victus Spiritus


Enough with the Dead End Apps

19 Jul 2011

In the tech world there's a surreal level of hype surrounding mobile and tablet applications. The source of the hype wave comes from users, developers, and even investors. But mobile is just one edge or surface of network applications, and it's thin valued novelty will quickly wane. It's frustrating to see the majority of developer creativity and energy going into dead end apps which pander to the lowest common denominator.

What I value in service apps today are hyper specialization or a wholistic cross platform approach.

Platform Specific

Hyper specialization refers to apps that only make sense for dedicated devices. For instance, Augmented Reality requires a camera or other sensory data as well as ancillary knowledge of observer position and orientation. If developers feel they can't deliver the same quality on multiple platforms the dedicated app provides a clear product path. TextMate is a potent Mac developer tool, yet its creators have decided not to spread this incredible app to other platforms. I'd surely buy it at work for Windows and Linux systems.

The app triumvirate

It's practical to begin building on one edge, and strong applications sprout up from single platforms. After proving app value with traction and revenue, it's an ideal opportunity to deliver that experience on all the devices where active users expect and need it. A sign of technical competence and business savvy is presence on all the platforms where your market expects you to be. One critical value I seek in apps is a common configuration home, and a web app is the platform of choice for maximum accessibility.

For information services, multiplayer games and social apps I loathe synchronizing settings across dozens of apps on a handful of devices. Thanks but no thanks, none of us need an unpaid side job that never ends. That doesn't mean I'd prefer a single solution, but I'd certainly appreciate much greater client approved data portability between apps.