3 Tips for Emerging Platform Makers

3 Tips for Emerging Platform Makers

There are a number of emerging platforms fighting for their place under the Sun. And I’m not necessarily talking about Ubuntu Mobile, Firefox OS, Sailfish and Tizen – Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10 could use some boost, as well. Here I want to share my thoughts what’s needed for these platforms to succeed.

Before proceeding, let’s clear one thing first – the new platform must have the basic covered, including a great email client, HTML5-compliant web browser and mobile office suite. Here’s what’s next:

1. Integrate with popular web services

As more and more users are “moving to the cloud,” it’s essential to have appropriate apps that “correspond” to these services. I’m talking about such popular web apps like Evernote, Box.net, Dropbox, GMail and web-based project/task management services like Remember The Milk, Asana, Nozbe and others.

Gmail support pretty much sucks if you’re not using Android and iOS. I remember speaking with a “BlackBerry guy” who wanted to convince me that I’m managing my email in a wrong way and that I should adopt BlackBerry’s way of doing so. I truly believe this kind of attitude brought BlackBerry to the place where it is now… though it’s giving its best to get back to the game.

GMail users can you imagine managing your email with the “Archive” option? BlackBerry thinks that’s not needed even though I selected GMail as my email provider.

2. Awesome social networking support

Go beyond Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Makers of emerging platforms should pitch folks behind apps/services like HootSuite, Pinterest, Fancy, Quora, GetGlue, Banjo, Gogobot, Circle, Waze, Pocket, News360, Flipboard and Pulse News (to name the few) to make native apps for their platform. Social gets you exposure and buzz so you better be able to allow your users to join the conversation. And besides, jobs involving social networks are one the most demanded (and most paid) these days, so you (BlackBerry) can’t claim you’re focused on business customers when people in select industries can’t use your phone to get the job done. Try posting to two different Facebook Pages with your Z10 to get a feeling what I’m talking about.

One more thing – side-loading of Android apps is not enough (this is BlackBerry-specific). We need to be able to access social apps from the “Share” menu to be able to quickly share stuff from a web browser, email client or news reader.

3. Assist and pay developers to port their apps

BlackBerry and Microsoft are already doing this, but there’s still room for improvement. HootSuite, which is one of the most popular social networking apps, is still not available beyond iOS and Android.

Companies making new platforms should create a department to assist developers and even pay them (if needed) to bring apps to their platform. Moreover, they should be offering free devices left and right to get attention in the current two-platform world.

Interesting times are ahead of us…

During the second half of this year the first devices running new platforms will be released. It will be interesting to watch which of them will succeed and which will share the destiny of webOS. We’ll make sure to bring you the most interesting tidbits so stay tuned…

  • Kostas Kritsilas

    I have another idea: Don’t abandon your installed base when a new version of OS software comes out. Blackberry and WIndows Phone have done this repeatedly. Windows Phone 7 owners were abandoned when WIndows Phone 8 came out, even though some of the “mid range” Windows Phone 8 devices were lower specification devices. They are about to do this again, with WIndows Phone 8 already having an end-of-life date of Mid 2014. While Microsoft/Noikia/etc. may see this as driving demand, the inability of users to upgrade just makes people abandon the platform. Blackberry/RIM are notorious for this as well. I am not expecting that they would have upgraded the old BB OS 5.X/6.X/7.X phones to BB10, it is not even possible to upgrade a BB OS 6.X phone to BB OS 7.X, even though the hardware is more than capable.

    With iOS phones being capable of being upgraded through mulitple versons (3GS, a 3-4 year old phone still runs iOS, albeit with limitations due to hardware), and Android phones getting upgrades (either through carrier,, phone vendor, or through hacking community) pretty much doing the same, this is a major advantage for the IOS and Android platforms.

    Kostas

    • PeterSteinbeck

      Makes sense though both BlackBerry and Windows Phone went through radical changes and I guess something like that was needed… old code wouldn’t work or would look ridiculous in the new UI.

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