I was at a panel yesterday talking about the “Appification of India”. This was part of the Social Media Week event.
I made a statement and tried in 2-3 min to clarify what I meant, but did a poor job of it. I thought it is better to detail my thoughts on this blog post.
I believe in 3-5 years mobile “apps” will be dead.
They will be replaced by a set of backend services that will be controlled by the smartphone OS.
As a user the only “UI” you will care about will be your phone UI controlled by the phone or provider. The current set of “apps” will be invoked on demand from the cloud by the OS (or the service layer developed by another 3rd party company).
The current problems with apps are well known. Besides games, which make up the significant part of the downloads, the problems with all other apps are: App discovery and app monetization are a huge problem for developers. Remembering which apps to use and managing the apps on your mobile phone are huge pain for users.
I believe Apps get in the way of what users want to do.
You want a car ride from your restaurant to home. Why do you have to remember that the Uber app is the one to use, then search for it on your phone, bring it up, click a few buttons, etc.
Now imagine if you either spoke to your phone or typed on your phone – get me a car to go home.
The phone has a set of pre-determined services which can all handle the request “get a car”. The OS (or service store) on the phone will negotiate with these services to get you the best service (depending on whether you have previously preferred best price, best car, etc.) and confirm that you will have the car in a few minutes. You dont have to remember that you have to open the Uber app etc.
Now at the back end, it will get more interesting if these “services” will bid (auction style) on fulfilling the request.
Which is why I believe the OS wars are done and finished. Android won.
Now let the service management layer wars will begin.