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Mobile Development

MWC 2012 Conference: How Apps have changed our lives

Mickaël Hiver
Mickaël Hiver
Revenue Operations Manager

It was in front of a packed audience that Scott Ellison (IDC) started the conference on how mobile applications will change our lives.Even before starting, I am personally convinced of it: it is our everyday reality, as, like many others, I am “connected”. I regularly check my social networks and e-mails via dedicated apps. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am in favor of further mobility development, beyond simply supplying apps one has on the PC. Facebook is heading in this direction by establishing a partnership with many worldwide mobile operators to simplify the confirmation of account creation or access validation to a service. In order to achieve this, FB is going to skip the e-mail confirmation stage; this operation is going to take place via the equipment and mobile phone subscription connected to it. The mobile phone becomes our identity card by default. icon_smileBut I stray from the conference…With 4.6 billion connectable people, the mobility market amounts to 9.100 billion dollars, trillions of exchanged messages and billions of downloaded Apps.The conference speakers were supposed to discuss two issues: App profitability management and changes that the developers should take into account.The following people were on stage in front of us:- Vincent Hoogsteder, CEO & Co-Founder, Distimo,- Rob Grimshaw, MD FT.com, Financial Time,- Ben Whitaker, CEO, Masabi,- Eugene Tsyrklevich, CEO, Parkopedia.com,- Doug Renert, Co-Founding Partner, Tandem Capital,- Jose Valles, Head of BlueVia, Telefonica,- Nathan Clapton, VP Mobile Partnerships, TripAdvisor,- Liat Ben-Zur, SD, Software Strategy & Business Development, Qualcomm CDMA Technologies.The debate started with the fact that App stores showcase their Apps only when they launch them (for a very short time, considering the number of Apps launched per day). Moreover, App stores provide absolutely no information on the origin of the users who upload an App: therefore, it is very difficult for a software editor to stand out from competitors and instigate a buzz around their apps. Certain conference speakers made a plea to Apple and Google so that they provide the origin of the downloads and a better feedback tool for communication between users and developers. Using social networks such as FB and recommendation is one of the means mentioned by conference speakers, which could enable an App to be a cut above the rest.As for the feedback tool, I wonder if something like a forum should be set up in Apps. Why not an HTML5 page embedded in the application…The conference quickly digressed into the debate “HTML5 versus native development?” and new user interfaces.It was a pity because, in my opinion, a synthesis of the changes brought about by the Apps in our daily lives would have been interesting as a starting point for this mobility trade show.So what about the debate “HTML5 versus native development”? All the conference speakers agree upon the aspect that using one or the other depends on the functionalities which must be supported by the App: interaction with the equipment or lack thereof (microphone, GPS, camera, etc.). As far as FT.com manager is concerned, HTML5 is the only viable development platform, as it supports all the equipment and OS, allowing us to concentrate our development efforts and, consequently, to make the development profitable more rapidly. As his Apps do not require interaction, it is easy for him to say that.In the view of certain conference speakers, one has to advocate for providing developers with access to all the equipment functionalities: microphone, camera, and so on. Enough to revolutionize web browsers! A short-term solution is to use hybrid Apps: a native App with HTML5 embedded pages, and thus providing access to the interaction with mobile equipment.As for the new interfaces, the topic was very briefly covered: the users will be the ones to decide upon using them; the developers must propose and the users will be the ones to decide. Practical. icon_smileThis is what I wished to say about this first conference at MWC.We’ll write more about it tomorrow. icon_wink

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