Mobile software is dead…long live mobile software

OK, it isn’t really dead, actually it has never been more alive. The distinction that I am making is regarding software for mobile phones (exploding) and software that runs as a good citizen on those phones (declining).

I’ve been involved in one way or another with software on mobile phones for almost 10 years, and the shift has been incredible. The explosion of the quality and breadth of things I can do  (and actually enjoy doing) from my phone has exploded in the last 4 years. Unfortunately, this has coincided with a decline in the quality of how these apps behave when considering the constraints of the mobile environment they are running within. Sometimes basic good citizen rules are ignored by many apps:

  • Data Compression – the easiest of easy, compress the data you send over the air. It’s amazing how many apps don’t do this.
  • Logical Polling – if you are going to poll for changes and there is nothing new for a long period, back off the polling interval. Rocket science this is not.
  • Battery – I won’t go into detail here but there are a number of things we have done @ Onskreen over the years when writing mobile client software to ensure the battery wasn’t unnecessarily drained.

So, if you want to see the future of what people will be doing on their mobile phones – skip the retreads at Mobile World Congress, and head to sxsw to see what the cool kids are building. Just be sure to get a bigger data plan and bring an extra battery….you’ll need it.