All Posts Filed in ‘Mobile


When Web App > Native App – on launching things

For the most part, application designers and engineers are drawn to native application because it allows full access to the hardware features and native user experience. In the end, you’ll ended up with prettier, more responsive, and easier to use application.

But one of the big advantage of Web app over native app is the easy of quick deployment, and potentially roll back of features and functionalities without going through the application marketplace (ie iTunes or Google Play).

One might also notice whenever you download a major update of your beloved application (say a 2.0 version of the app) there’s usually is no turning back to the old 1.0 version of that native app. Usually, you can’t have the same app installed side by side.

On the other hand, many large scale Web apps usually can accomodate a “try before you buy” UX. Users are encouraged to try the new UX before fully by-into the new features and user experience. I have yet to see any native app (either on PC or mobile) that does something like: ask the user to try a new version of the app (that’s a separate download and a new binary), and encourage the users to submit feedback before the official roll out of the major update. It’s an extra layer of work for the team but this is something worth experimenting for many larger organizations.


Fragmentation of the Mobile UI

After watching this impressive video demo of HTC Sense UI for Android, it got me start thinking about the fragmentation of the Mobile UI.

Due to the open source nature of Android, heavy customization of the UI is to be expect. This type of heavy customization of mobile UNIX/Linux UI reminds me of the crazy varieties of the UNIX interface of the 1990s. Anyone still remember the different versions Motif, Gnome, KDE, Solaris, etc?

I am afraid we’re entering a very similar era with the Mobile UI.

“Classic Android” (Google Phone), HTC Sense UI for Android, Palm Pre’s WebOS, Symbian S60 Touch, etc. the choice are limitless. These ‘next gen’ UI are powerful, but yet difficult to use. They also require the users to relearn how things operate from handsets to handsets.

Imagine developer has to port popular mobile service to at least 5 different handsets’ OS. Imagine users switch between handsets and they have to relearn their favorite apps (i.e. Twitter client or Web browser).

I am aware of the great hope of HTML / JavaScript driven mobile-web apps (or even OS) that will “rule them all”. These solutions are (technically) sound for both the users and developer, but in reality, if you want to deliver top notch user experience, some middle of the road solution rarely works…

The PC Revolutions happened because we actually have limited choices. Macs or Windows (95 in particular). The next 3-5 years are critical for these Mobile OS. For mobile to succeed, natural selection has to occur. We’ll end up with no more than 3 different major mobile OS. Mark my words.


iPhone 3G Hong Kong Usage Data

ePrice (fomerly PhoneDaily) posted an interview with Hutchison 3 Hong Kong in regarding the iPhone 3G services in Hong Kong.

The original interview is in Chinese, and focus on the poor iPhone 3G services (both data speed and call quality) in Hong Kong region.

Complains aside, Hutchison 3’s CTO Daniel Chong revealed some interesting iPhone usage stats of the region. On average, iPhone data usage is 10x of most smart phones. Compare with specific handsets, iPhone data usage is 6x of HTC Diamond, 10x of Nokia N95 8GB, 42x of Sony Ericsson W901i.

Compare with regular 3G handsets, iPhone 3G users are also fan of the Hutchison 3 portal. Over 32% of the iPhone 3G users use the official Planet 3 mobile portal with rougly 2.35 million impression since the release of the handset. The usual popular content are news, weather, and finance, etc.


The end of the walled garden mobile portal by a Japanese carrier?!

Shocking and confusing title isn’t it? Let me explain.

With the last month’s release of iPhone 3G by Japanese carrier Softbank Mobile, Softbank created a brand new mobile portal for the Japanese iPhone users. Savvy Japanese culture geeks should already know the name or the brand of this portal.

It’s the Yahoo! Japan mobile portal for the iPhone .

Yahoo! as a consumer brand is majority owned by Softbank conglomerate in Japan. Since 2006 Softbank entered the mobile service arena in Japan, Softbank had been building up mobile service under the Yahoo! Japan brand. The company had gone as far as providing a “Yahoo! button” on the handsets by different manufacturers.

The Yahoo! Japan mobile portal is interesting for the following reasons:

  • It’s open access. That means anyone (as long as you can read Japanese) can type in and access the content and services.
  • That includes Softbank’s competitor’s customers (DoCoMo, KDDI subscribers) can access the content as long as their mobile browser supports WebKit like features.
  • Of course, the big gotcha is that you can only get the iPhone from Softbank in Japan.
  • The site is deep and content rich. I am sock at both the depth and the breath of the content. No doubt you can still find certain deep linked content goes back to a regular “full Web” version of Yahoo! content, but over all, there are levels and levels of content design specifically (or reposition) for the iPhone.
  • Lack of advertising on the iPhone Yahoo! Softbank portal.

I am still trying to digest what this means for the Japanese mobile market. The outside pundits always praise how great the Japanese mobile ecosystem is or how advanced Japanese handset ares. But if you have done some research, you’ll find that really doesn’t mean a lot in a market that is pretty much completely saturated – and most Japanese would carry 2 phones (one for work and one for personal use). Again… I am interested to see how iPhone will (or will not) change the Japanese mobile market.