Just thinking about the integration taking place across devices these days and it’s amazing how much more software goes into the OS these days and what this means for devs. I mean, we used to get a phone with a calendar, email, SMS, phone, calculator and a browser and add a few games and we were more than set. Time went on and Windows Mobile and Blackberry got killed for essentially not breaking that mold. And look at where we are now.
I’ll stick with Windows Phone for a second because that’s what I know but Microsoft essentially ended Shazam, removed the need to load any ‘local’ search apps, killed off any need to bring Dragon Speak Easy to the phone, no need for Facebook or Live Chat, or Dropbox…well you get the idea. See lots of developers made massively impressive apps and we used to crave these on our phones and now they’re integrated. And the same could be said of Android and to a lesser degree iPhone (which still embraces more of an ‘app’ model than Android or Windows Phones). It’s a pretty fundamental shift in the way we view our devices too. Now you walk out of the store and the phone does everything. Yeah you still need some games and utilities and there are always some apps that compliment what your phone can already do. But think of all of the apps that you don’t need now on a Windows Phone. I mean, Shazam was a legit company and I presume their downloads on Windows Phones are about to plummet since the built in functions will almost certainly dry up their market. And to developers that make Twitter, Facebook or Skype apps they already know they’re on borrowed time. This forces developers to release even better products because if they merely mimic a function the phone already does they simply won’t sell. But you can take an app like Seesmic and it’s still viable – today at least. Or look at TweetDeck and how they pulled in $40m from Twitter for their desktop client.
It’s an interesting transitional period we’re in now as the giant software makers are getting back to their roots of…well developing software. And at the same time the rest of the developer community has to bring their A-game but if they do, there are huge benefits to reap. I prefer this model over the ‘app for that’ model every time and can’t wait to see what gets integrated next and what must have app comes out next.