Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Leland's Huge Talk about Android, Twitter and Mobile User Experience

I just saw a great presentation by @Leland at Huge tonight in a UPA series event called "Put your iPhone down! A Discussion About the State of Mobile Services."

This was the first talk I've been to that looks beyond the iPhone in terms of user experience, and there were some key points that will become clearer as we approach 2010 and since there will be a lot of new android devices in market on sprint, t-mobile and verizon.

Leland Rechis was impressive for two reasons:
1) He worked with Twitter in Japan, which is where they've done intensive mobile testing, and twitter is a platform agnostic service, which treats SMS, Mobile Web and Native Apps all as viable channels for interaction on mobile
2) He worked at Google on the development of the Android platform, which is the most open platform for OS development

Leland explained that Apple has created an architecture that deals very well on AT&T's network, because iPhone economizes energy and data usage by putting activities into app silos. However, Apple pre-sets the activities you can initiate for their apps. The best mobile experience would enable you to take a photo and pull up whichever service has the capability to post. Android can generically say 'share' and pull up any application on the phone that has sharing capabilities (email, MMS, twitter app, facebook, tumblr etc.).

iPhone instead picks static features that you might want to use, e.g. for photos you get
1) email, 2) assign to a contact, 3) use as wallpaper. Android does not pre-bake these features, it offers 'intents' which means anywhere within any application on Android it is possible to call up an activity, rather than fully load up another app. That really makes the picture of the three suggested options of what to do with a photo on iPhone look pretty silly.

I think it's possible that the next wave of mobile behavior will be that the most popular apps from iPhones will make their way to Android, but then those popular apps will be addressable in standard apps like the camera, video player, email, and the mobile browser.

I also think that the framework for Android that Leland explained makes content potentially more viral than it has been on the iPhone 1,2, and 3.0 OS because getting to your preferred apps faster means more sharing of photos, videos and links.

I asked Leland what's next for HTML 5 after Geo-Location, and he said it's 'app store' and clarified, 'not THE app store, but application data storage' for the mobile browser, which is why Apple and Google who initially worked together in their contribution to the webkit standard mobile browser are now competing to create the fastest and best JavaScript engines.

What's Leland's favorite Android app? He seemed pretty fond of Twidget Lite which from a design standpoint is breakthrough, it offers today what the Motorola Cliq seems to be promising, which is an interface where the widget provides information but does not take up the whole screen.





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