From Intel inside to appstore inside and the rise of the Mobile Grandpas ..

From Intel Inside to Appstore Outside.JPG

This is an extended version of the opening talk I gave as the chair of the CTIA mobile appstores event in San Diego.

(Note: You can now download presentations from all the speakers using a free registration at The Mobile applications business network - register for free and go to the downloads section)

The iconic Intel Inside campaign was one of the hallmarks of the PC era. As we enter into a more complex era spanning PCs, Sub netbooks and the Web, it is interesting to see that Intel now has an appstore .. Which is the inspiration of this blog/article ‘From Intel Inside to Appstore inside’

The blog is not about Intel or indeed of the Apple Appstore .. But rather it is about a deeper trend that I see today .. Which I can call as ‘Appstore inside’ and the wider implications of this trend.

What started off with the iPhone is becoming a key part of all of computing including mobile, netbooks, traditional software and even hardware.

If we demystify the word ‘Appstore’ and we separate it from the success of the iPhone, the Appstore converts all that it touches into a ‘platform’. Appstores recognise the importance of the Long Tail and the unpredictable use of a particular product. It enables the product to have a ‘software layer’ if you will – and allows third parties the freedom to change the product within some parameters.

That’s what I mean by ‘Appstore inside’ and it is a pervasive phenomenon .. And the success of the iPhone appstore may well be in educating the industry about the significance of third parties(something I have long advocated on the OpenGardens blog)

Some observations about the disruptive implications of this trend

a) The trend affects hardware and software .. Let us see the Intel appstore announcement in a bit more detail. It says ..

Intel recently revealed that it intends to offer its own application store. Intel indicated that it will offer applications to devices such as netbooks, cars, mobile phones and others. Intel’s apps store will behave and appear similar to Apple’s iPhone Apps store. Intel’s PC-manufacturer partners have already said they will participate. The apps store will launch some time in 2010.

This means .. Hardware vendors are using the Appstores to add a software layer to their product

b) It is also affecting traditional software .. The latest version of Quickbooks from Intuit (a mainstream accounting software) has a (guess what??) .. Yes an appstore!

Intuit QuickBooks 2010 Includes App Store

c) Why is this a differentiator? It means that more developers/third parties adopt apps for a specific platform, the richer it will be and the greater the competitive advantage of that product

d) Netbooks and sub notebooks .. are the logical next stage for apps .. Watch this space ..

e) What does it mean for mobile devices?

Here are the implications

1) Mobile devices are becoming cheaper and non differentiated. At the mobile apps event at CTIA Rob Riordan from a Wisconscin based carrier called Nsight had an interesting observation.. To summarise .. That the definition of ‘King’ is changing .. Originally coverage was king, then content was king (ringtones). Now social features and apps are king. This means, the more you are able to attract developers to your platform, the more you should be able to differentiate and create ‘stickiness’ around your product

2) An era of very cheap hardware ..

Horrifying as the prospect sounds, phones could become very cheap .. This is already happening with the rise of the Bandit phones/grey phones in the Chinese market. I know that the regulatory, compliance issues are still present but the trend is clear.

3) Imperfect phones ..

As phones become more like PCs, they will be come unpredictable …

This can be illustrated by a recent statement from the CEO of Research in Motion, Jim Balsillie who admitted to the Washington Post that the recent release of the Blackberry Storm was buggy, and they knew it and yet they pushed it out. Rather than waiting for ‘perfection’ – Jim Balsillie admitted that shipping with imperfect software was the future of electronics. This differs from the prevailing ‘consumer electronics’ mindset

4) Imperfect phones will be adopted by the younger generation but will create a new generation of ‘Mobile grandpas’

It reminds me of a cartoon from Dilbert where two late 40s Unix gurus were bragging how they operated under constrained computing resources .. One said .. in my day .. we coded everything in 1s and 0s(binary). Another said .. That’s nothing .. in my day, we coded only in 1s to save resources even more :)

So, look out for relatively young people bemoaning the loss of their simple, closed locked down handsets .. Back in the good old days of 1999 .. In my generation .. My XXX handset could do .. etc etc etc … Now with all these new apps … it’s all too complex for me .. You get the picture ..

I call these the Mobile Grandpas .. Paradoxically young in age but older in mindset ..

To conclude … whichever way we look at it .. the trend is very clear. Let us not get bogged down with the iPhone appstore .. it is the concept of ‘Appstore inside’ into hardware, software, mobile devices and netbooks which can be truly disruptive

Any comments/ feedback welcome

(Note: You can now download presentations from all the speakers using a free registration at The Mobile applications business network – register for free and go to the downloads section)

Image source: Intel