Posts

Mobile Web and SaaS App Users Need Device Switching Flexibility

As I noted in a previous blog “Smartphones in the IT Ecosystem”, smartphones are a part of the IT ecosystem and have to co-exist with other important players in the ecosystem such as laptops, desktops and mainframes. By working together and in harmony with these other devices and systems, smartphones can become far more powerful and valuable than what they are in isolation on their own.  In this blog I discuss the need for smartphones to seamlessly work together with laptops and desktops. Read more

Cross-platform Mobile Web Apps with Native User Interface

The rapid introduction of a new smartphones from leading vendors with different screen sizes and operating systems has created a dilemma for Web and SaaS application vendors. These application vendors already have existing or new customers who are buying smartphones in increasingly large numbers. Application vendors thinking about developing native apps have two choices. They can either support all popular smartphones, which is very expensive, or they can support only one or two smartphones which means that many of their customers will be unable to access their app from unsupported smartphones. Neither choice is appealing. Read more

Web Applications need a new smartphone-friendly User Interface

To understand why Web and SaaS applications need a new smartphone-friendly user interface one has to only look at the remarkable success of the Apple iPhone as compared to the Microsoft’s  Windows Mobile OS in its various reincarnations. Microsoft has been in the mobile OS business for over a decade and has invested heavily in the technology. Over this period it has released successive venison of Windows CE and Windows Mobile OS. It has also partnered with numerous third-party vendors and presumably garnered much insight about the consumer and their needs. Indeed for many years the Microsoft OS platform was one of the leading contenders in the space for high-end smartphones along with RIM BlackBerry and Palm, as the Symbian OS took over the low-end mobile devices. With so much resources, history and partner ecosystem, one would expect that Microsoft would become the dominant OS platform for smartphones, especially the high-end devices that approach the functionality of Personal Computers. Read more

Developing Web Apps that enable Device Change

Smartphone users do not use smartphones only. They use other computing devices such as full-screen laptops/desktops, or half-screen devices such as the Apple iPad and other tablets. Consequently, when working with SaaS or Web applications, smartphone users need a choice of the type of devices they can use. When they are out and about, they prefer to use their smartphones for the convenience of their portability and other advantages. When at home or in their offices, smartphone users do not want to be restricted to the small screen size and keyboard of smartphones. Instead they prefer to use their laptops for its full screen, keyboard and other conveniences. Also as, we noted in a previous blog Dealing with the Discontinuous Work Patterns of Mobile Users, smartphone users work in smaller, discontinuous chunks of time. They might start to do something when out of their office, get interrupted by a phone call or some other event, and get back to the unfinished task later in the day when they would prefer to use their laptop to complete what they started. The bottom line is that for an ideal experience, users need not only the ability to work in discontinuously but also the ability to choose the device that is most suitable for the moment. Read more

Why the Web is the Ultimate Platform for Smartphone Applications

As the smartphone application market explodes with tens of thousands of new applications coming online in the application stores of the major platforms (Apple, Google, Microsoft, BlackBerry, etc.), there is a silent but crucial debate going on in the market. The debate centers around the whether smartphone applications should be Web-based or native. And the stakes are high as the outcome will determine the shape of the ultimate IT platform that smartphones are destined to become. Read more