Sunday, November 15, 2009

The "App" Model

I'm sorry, everyone, but you're going to have to suffer through a string of cell phone based entries, as that's where my attention's focused right now. This one deals with the app model of cell phone functionality. Personally, I think it's brilliant, and a quantum leap forward in cell phone design.

The boon, as I see it, is that it extends the personal computer model to personal communication devices. Instead of trying to design the perfect phone that does everything that anyone could possibly want right out of the box, the app model allows designers to create platforms, phones that perform all the basic functions of a PDA/cell phone and allow third party designers to fill in the holes. That also means that you can customize your device to do exactly what, and only what you need it to do. And that avoids function bloat. Instead of dedicating memory and processor power to functions you never use, you can hone your device down to a streamlined, user-specific experience.

And you can do it without a large extra investment above the cost of the phone. Most apps are either free or very inexpensive, due in part to the narrow focus of their functionality. Each app adds only a small feature set and is therefore inexpensive. But again, that's ideal, because you're only paying for the functionality you need and nothing additional.

The iPhone started it (sort of...Palm really started it, but it was always really poorly implemented) and clearly it works, because every other company is now hopping on board.

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