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Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Device-Agnostic Computing: Android and Kindle and a new kind of App!

On Friday the 4th of February 2011 New York-based ABI Research released a research paper on Buy-Anywhere Options, not Devices, will be key to Digital Publishing success. Which is a response to the Amazon kindle bookstore which is a revolutionary form of business. Incorporating the throw-back principle of 'write once-run anywhere' programming and giving the user the ability to 'push' it to their chosen platform with disregard this is why the Kindle bookstore and now the new Android Market webstore is going to be the future of app retailing. ABI's findings indicate that publishing content or digital apps that are not linked to the device is the reason why the Kindle has been a bigger success than Apple iBooks store simply because Amazon Kindle can be read on iPad, Android-based Smartphones or tablet PCs, PC and Mac based computers, iPhones and Blackberrys and eBook Readers including Amazon's own Kindle Reader. This plethora of accessibility options means Kindle is not reliant on a 'single' device to generate market share but can piggy-back of a selection of devices to find a larger audience or market share.

But this idea of list once and run anywhere is an important element of Android as a device-based OS. Because Android is not linked to a specific device handset means that Android has, over other OS rivals like Apple or BlackBerry, an advantage. Device-Agnostic computing is a new way of thinking. The success of the iStore has shown that. Apple's success vis a vis the iPhone was about shifting mobile phones away from individual application structures which are costly to 'outsourcing' to create a batch of relatively cheap apps which are device linked and sold through strict parameters thereafter. But in order to generate maximum sales revenues keeping your content tied to specific devices hampers this objective. Creating applications that are device-agnostic will theoretically generate a wider market base for your product. But there are costs generated by this activity. Android is an OS that is not tied to a specific device, but does tie you to the Android culture, this had been a problem in the past. The old Android Market because of monetizing and licensing issues meant games developers like EA were unwilling to participate. The new Android Market has changed this.

So Android's success is partly due to its essentially multi-device accessibility function which means it has an edge over BlackBerry and Apple. Apple's success, remember, came as a response not to its shiny phones but to the apps generated for the platform. No apps no successful Apple relaunch it's that simple. But Research firm Gartner believes the opposite is true. The head of Research, Stephanie Baghdassarian argues, "We strongly believe there is a sizeable opportunity for application stores in the future. However, applications will have to grow up and deliver a superior experience to the one that a Web-based app will be able to deliver. Native apps will survive the Web enhancements only when they will provide a more-personal and richer experience to the ‘vanilla’ experience that a Web-based app will deliver." What's at stake here is not the sheer quantity of apps available. The Android market boasts 100,000+ apps in January of this year but how many of these apps are quality apps? 60% maybe, 50% probably or 30% if we are being realistic. So now that device-agnostic computing is here, developers need not worry about market success of a single device as their apps will reach a wider audience through Android's multi-device strategy. Now the quest is to develop new quality apps!


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