Tagged: widsets

Yahoo!Go 3.0 Released And Open To Developers

Yahoo! has released ver­sion 3.0 of their pop­u­lar Yahoo!Go mobile service.20080108yahoogo.jpg

Accord­ing to their press release (that you may read by click­ing here) their goal is to “enable and lead a mobile ecosys­tem” … “by pro­vid­ing indis­pens­able & com­pelling ser­vices to con­sumers, devel­op­ers, pub­lish­ers and advertisers”.

An old mar­ket­ing col­league told me years ago that the words in a press release have to be cho­sen very care­fully. If you read again the two sen­tences com­ing from Yahoo! you will notice that Yahoo! is going to address con­sumers (obvi­ous), devel­op­ers (much less obvi­ous), pub­lish­ers and adver­tis­ers. These are some of the most impor­tant enti­ties in the mobile ecosystem.

One impor­tant note is that they do not seem to cite oper­a­tors that are prob­a­bly one of the key fac­tor that will need to be involved in Yahoo! efforts. A few weeks ago I said that who owns the SIM card owns the Cus­tomer and I am still very con­vinced about that. If this is true Yahoo! may develop the best mobile ecosys­tem ever but if they do not team up effec­tively with oper­a­tors the new­born boy will have short legs.

Any­way the announce­ment is still very relevant.

If you scroll down the press release Yahoo! shows the four tenets of their mobile strat­egy. I will report this in the exact order you will find in the orig­i­nal press release.

1 — “Enabling devel­op­ers and pub­lish­ers mobi­lize their ser­vices quickly, at high qual­ity and low cost, across hun­dreds of devices“Â

If you have every had devel­op­ment headaches while deploy­ing mobile ser­vices to mul­ti­ple frag­mented plat­forms you will eas­ily under­stand why this is so pow­er­ful. It will free devel­op­ers from all the issues they have to fight with every sin­gle day. It will be much more easire to con­cen­trate on the ser­vice and the prod­uct instead of think­ing about port­ing the appli­ca­tion against twenty dif­fer­ent platforms.

This kind of approach is not new to the mar­ket. In some way it reminds me of the Wid­sets ini­tia­tive that in a smaller scale had the very same goal even if with much less resources com­pared to Yahoo!

Any­way I def­i­nitely agree with Yahoo! point of view when they state that this approach will usher a dra­matic accel­er­a­tion in the adop­tion of mobile services.

The web site ded­i­cate to devel­op­ers is very well designed and is tar­get­ing devel­op­ers in the right way giv­ing them the doc­u­men­ta­tion they need, an option to test their code while devel­op­ing their own wid­get and a com­mu­nity frame­work where they can dis­cuss with other devel­op­ers. You may have a look at the web site by click­ing here.

I noticed that the list of sup­ported hand­sets is really huge and this is dra­mat­i­cally impor­tant. You can find the com­plete list by click­ing here.

2 — Deliv­er­ing indis­pens­able mobile services

This really sounds as a crys­tal mar­ket­ing state­ment. I do not really have com­ments on this since it is quite obvi­ous. The only note I would make is that I would have not cho­sen the word “indis­pens­able”. Try­ing what is indis­pens­able for a mobile user is a very dif­fi­cult exer­cise that I would not be very happy to take.

I would have cho­sen some­thing like “compelling”.

3 — Set­ting the gold stan­dard for the best mobile Inter­net expe­ri­ence across the widest range of devices

I always thought that one of the most impor­tant thing in a set of mobile appli­ca­tions is con­sis­tency in the User Inter­face and User Expe­ri­ence. Devel­op­ing using a com­mon frame­work will help to min­i­mize this problem.

4 — Mon­e­tiz­ing the fast-​growing audi­ence of the mobile Internet

Show me the money. Yahoo! says that “Many more inno­va­tions in mobile mon­e­ti­za­tion tools and ser­vices are planned over the course of 2008″. We will have to wait and how this com­pare to other ini­tia­tives like this.

Def­i­nitely an inter­est­ing news for the mobile market.

An inter­est­ing thing is that also Yahoo!, just as Google did with Android, is tar­get­ing devel­op­ers. It is quite obvi­ous that who will able to con­vince devel­op­ers to adopt a plat­form will win this game.

Let The Customer Choose

20071018memoryfull.jpgWhen you buy a new mobile phone you will typ­i­cally spend the very next few days try­ing to under­stand how it works, what appli­ca­tion you may use and install that set of third party appli­ca­tions that you think you may need while you are hit­ting the road.

If I look at my mobile phone right now (Nokia E61i) I have a lot of appli­ca­tions installed:

  • Jaiku
  • gMail
  • Google Maps
  • Opera Mini
  • News­ga­tor Go
  • Shozu
  • Intel­li­sync
  • Skype
  • Wid­sets
  • MSN Mes­sen­ger
  • putty
  • mIRGGI

and some other minor stuff not worth mentioning.

It really seems that when you buy a new mobile phone you go through the very same process you go through when you buy a new Per­sonal Com­puter. Take out all of the free­bies that come with it and that you do not like, and install those appli­ca­tions and util­i­ties that you need.

I think that the sim­i­lar­i­ties end here.

After hav­ing installed all of these appli­ca­tion you will need to face the prob­lem of hav­ing these pro­gram work together. Just to make a sim­ple exam­ple I can say that if I have my e-​mail push appli­ca­tion run­ning together with Jaiku (my two pre­ferred appli­ca­tions) I am not able to run any­thing else. If I want to check my gMail account I have to shut­down some­thing before launch­ing the J2ME appli­ca­tion. That’s very annoy­ing in the long run and this is the rea­son why I think that say­ing that mobile is the new Per­sonal Com­puter is not yet a reality.

I would like oper­a­tors to work with mobile phones man­u­fac­tur­ers in order to build bet­ter oper­at­ing sys­tems that will ease my mobile life. When I buy a new mobile phone I would like to go through a con­fig­u­ra­tion process that will let me choose the fla­vor of my mobile phone.

The per­fects mobile phone would:

  • allow me to make use of the idle screen accord­ing to my pri­or­i­ties. I would like to see there the infor­ma­tion that prob­a­bly I will need the most. In my case I would like to see incom­ing e-​mail mes­sages from my work account, upcom­ing appoint­ments and so on.
  • allow me to take own­er­ship of the idle screen. Dur­ing the week­end I (usu­ally) do not care about work stuff and I would like to see dif­fer­ent things there just like news or per­sonal e-​mail mes­sage. This should hap­pen with a sim­ple key press and not going through an infi­nite nav­i­ga­tion inside the mobile phone settings.
  • allow me to gather snack infor­ma­tion from the Net when I need. Putting an RSS feed on the idle thing would be a very good start. In a more gen­eral sense the idea of hav­ing cus­tomiz­able wid­gets on the idle screen just as you can have on the Mac­Book I am using to write this post. More­over I want my infor­ma­tion and not the infor­ma­tion that the oper­a­tor thinks may be inter­est­ing to me. I want to be free to choose what­ever wid­get I like and I will be prob­a­bly will­ing to pay for this.
  • allow me to easy switch from an appli­ca­tion to another. I can under­stand that the mobile does not have infi­nite resources, but instead of dis­play­ing a mes­sage say­ing “Mem­ory full” why not help the user to launch an appli­ca­tion ask­ing which appli­ca­tion he would like to close to free some mem­ory? The mobile phone should be smart enough to under­stand which appli­ca­tions are used as snacks and which appli­ca­tions are going to be used inten­sively. Launch the snack appli­ca­tion clos­ing one of the back­ground appli­ca­tions and when the snack appli­ca­tion has fin­ished its life cycle relaunch the appli­ca­tion that was terminated.
  • allow appli­ca­tion to talk to each other and col­lab­o­rate. When I am using Skype I would like to have a uni­fied con­tact list. Today I have a con­tact list for my phone, one for Skype and one for MSN Mes­sen­ger. Why? There is no point in this. Inter­process com­mu­ni­ca­tion was invented 20 years ago and I see no rea­son why it should not work with mod­ern mobile phones.
  • take away the Java Appli­ca­tion Launcher. I am a cus­tomer and I do not care if you have writ­ten a native appli­ca­tion or a Java appli­ca­tion. To me they are appli­ca­tions. That’s it. Just show them as all of the other appli­ca­tions. To me, as a cus­tomer, there should be no dif­fer­ence at all.
  • allow me to put Java appli­ca­tion in the back­ground. (Sony Eric­s­son Mobile is great at this)
  • allow me to get rid of all of these Java warn­ings about appli­ca­tion secu­rity. I know that it’s the stan­dard but it really makes the whole things unus­able. More­over it may give false infor­ma­tions to the cus­tomer. (e.g. If have sub­scribed a flat data rate plan there is no point in say­ing to the cus­tomer that the appli­ca­tion will con­sume data that may have a cost). The best solu­tion would be to add a layer to the Java appli­ca­tion that will ask to the oper­a­tor billing sys­tem if I am going to pay for that data or not. That should be quite simple.

As you can see it is a long list but it is some­thing that I think we def­i­nitely need to make the life of our cus­tomer eas­ier than today.

At the end of the day the whole thing is to let the cus­tomer be free to have the mobile phone he wants and not what we (oper­a­tors) think he would want.

Why do I blog this ? There are lot of things that we can make to help our cus­tomers. I think that it is time to start think­ing about this.