There’s a pretty clear problem with this conference – lessons learnt from companies with one major brand (like, say, the big broadcasters and newspapers) don’t have much transferable wisdom for those of us with multiple smaller brands. The economies of app production (and, indeed, of brand reputation) are just completely different. But that’s not to say that nuggets of useful information haven’t emerged during the day.
One interesting emergent fact – those businesses with Android support of some kind (the BBC and Sky) are both reporting that they just aren’t seeing the same use from Android devices as they are iOS . That seems to be a combination of both apps and web visits. It seems clear that this is more complex than a pure numbers game – Android may come to dominate in terms of numbers of units our there, but there seems to be a clear difference in the way the two groups of users operate. This feels like a significantly more complex situation than the old Apple / Microsoft battle on the desktop.
I will confess to a degree of skepticism about Dominic Jacquesson’s predictions about the shape of the mobile market in two years. It’s possible Windows Phone 7 will displace iOS as the second platform behind Android – but I’m far from convinced that it’s as likely as he painted it. I also think he misunderstand’s Apple’s fundamental philosophy – it makes the vast majority of its revenue from hardware sales, not content sales which exist largely to support the hardware business – and yet, he shapes things in terms of “threat” from web apps. Those with memories that stretch back to 2007 will know that Apple was actively pushing web apps before it even had an app store.
That said, I do think that some things were spot on – the general failure of “print replication” apps, the promise of in-app purchasing (and recurring subscriptions) and the need to delight the user I think are all valid and under-considered as people approach this market. Never has so much money been wasted by so many publishers on such a clunky product with so much misplaced hope… I also think that his observation that HTML 5 capabilities are likely to lag those of native apps on whatever platforms emerge as the long-term victors is insightful and worth bearing in mind.