I am going to make a bold prediction…
For years, the word has been that local applications are not the best solution because people won’t take the time to download them — the process is just painful.
…and today it is.
If you read this blog, you know where I stand with respect to this: that local applications can maximize the user experience because of access to local functionality, and ability to provide a richer (multimedia) experience.
I contend that the issue with local application is centered on the following:
- Not having a great way to find and download content/applications,
- The return on (download) effort (ROE) hasn’t been there, and especially not in a consistent way,
- Not sufficient end-user education on the matter.
And my prediction is that when the iPhone starts supporting local applications via their native SDK, that a stream of new applications will show up, and that people will download, won’t complain at all! They will just do it, similarly to how people today sit down on their computers, search for content, and download videos and songs to their iPods.
What about other Platforms?
For the same to happen on other platforms, those must also provide an easy way to distribute content, local or not, executable or not.
It would be great if a collective effort is put in place to address this exact topic/issue. This could be part of the Open Handset Alliance (OHA). Since Andy Rubin creator of Danger is now at Google doing Android, and he knows what I am talking about (i.e. Danger provides a successful “console” for the Sidekick for content distribution), Android is in a great position to lead this effort.
…and at the end, local applications will kick ass, and no one will complain about it.
So in summary, three things must be provided to address the Pain #1 with local applications:
- A return on (download) effort must be there — it must be exciting and satisfying,
- and this is accomplished via a great but simple and consistent way (console) to find, buy, and download content and applications — like iTunes are for iPods, but a “generic” one regardless of gadget,
- and people must be educated on the matter, that yes it is OK and possible and easy to find and download content and applications. And it would be even better, if no education was needed at all, since the process is so intuitive that even my grandmother can use it.
OK, so while local applications might not be the next big thing, I hope you get what I’m trying to say here, that once the pain is removed, as explained above, people will download applications for that device without complaining. And that the iPhone via iTunes, and hopefully Android with their solution, will help us validate that hypothesis. And that there is an opportunity to create such solution across vendors via the OHA.