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…