Posts Tagged ‘Blackberry’

I’ll start by saying that Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures inspired this post when he wrote the following:

“Think RIM is going to struggle more and more every day. Moves like they are making against Kik, which provides cross platform BBM, are likely to come back to haunt them. They should be making it easier for their users to chat with iPhone and Android users, not harder. Open platforms win and closed platforms die. And RIM still does not get what being an open platform means.”

Fred is a very influential tech venture capitalist who has backed companies like Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, and Zynga long before they became household names. When he has an opinion on the future of mobile technologies people sit up and take notice.

I blogged exactly 11 months ago about where I thought the mobile application future was headed (another post inspired by Union Square Ventures) and I wrote then that “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.” A mere 11 months later it is still too soon to tell if I (and Fred and Brad) are right, but the numbers are starting to bear us out. Currently Google’s share of the smart phone OS market is growing at 6.5% per quarter. RIM (blackberry) lost 3.5% in the last quarter and Apple (iPhone) stayed relatively stagnant at +0.8%. If this trend continues I imagine Apple and RIM, both closed platforms, will find themselves significantly trailing Google, an open platform, within the next 5 years. (Obviously, I think the iPhone will get a rather large, though temporary, bump when it is finally released on Verizon – especially if it is a 4G/LTE version. However, I think the long term trend will remain unchanged.

I’m still excited by coming developments in mobile technology (LTE on Verizon anyone?) as our phones and networks get ever faster and more powerful. And, I’m willing to bet that as the technology improves developers are going to be less willing to put up with stringent controls on the distribution of their work.

Maybe I’ll re-visit this post in another 11 months.

Good Talk,


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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,

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