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Archive for January, 2010

I’m not a developer or a programmer of any kind (except for 18 weeks during 11th grade) but I have been paying fairly close attention to the development of mobile apps. 6 weeks ago I switched from a BlackBerry (RIM) to a Droid running the Android OS. The number of apps available for my Droid is just amazing. It’s like switching from night to day. And then of course there’s Apple and the iPhone and the 100,000+ apps available for that device.

I recently read a great article by Brad Burnham of Union Square Ventures about the competing dev environments. His analysis was spot on.

“Apple exercises too much control via the app store approval process (as well as app store placement and TV ads). RIM doesn’t really seem to care about developers (or making it easier to develop for the BB). Android could or is already splintering into too many devices with sufficient differences to make life hard for developers.” (I encourage you to read the whole post here.)

The question then becomes “Where does the development environment go from here?” Will Apple learn to cede control and open the platform? Will RIM stop ignoring the growing community of developers? Will Android either settle on a few top notch devices or figure out a way for apps to work seamlessly across different hardware?

Personally, I do not think the sheer number of Apps from Apple provides any real advantage. In reality the number of handsets sold will have a far greater impact on the health and vigorous the application environment will become. Developers will create applications that will reach the largest audience. Why would they want to be crowded out by 100,000 other developers? Also, how many apps are really necessary? Data show that users install on average 65 applications (Source here) for their iPhones. So, are the other 99,035 necessary? Sure, not all users install the same 65, but I’d be willing to be there is huge overlap.

I honestly can not see anything other than an open development standard emerging (and I’m loath to bet against Google), but I’m excited to see this all play out.

Good Talk,
Tom
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