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May 23, 2018

Comments

Matti

Don't expect KaiOS to have any effect on smartphone base.
KaiOS is a dumbphone OS, the phones sold with KaiOS are counted as dumbphones.

Jim Glue

In addition to Matti's point - there is already NOTHING keeping devs from creating web apps instead of native mobile apps.

It's just that....you have ALL the problems you have with the web in general (from a developer's pov). Such as:
- Discovery
- building your own payment system (or incorporating a service)
- You still have to design for desktop, tablet, mobile which is time consuming unless you are basically building a browser.
- Native apps can have direct access to the hardware, like camera, gps, etc.

Why - when if "generic cross platform" development is your goal, there are frameworks for that these days.

Consider something simple like a twitter client. Who would prefer running twitter's web app over a native twitter client? I use a twitter app even on my computers.

Tester

@Jim:

You are completely missing the point here. Having a web app working means you got ALL platforms covered with ONE app. That's a huge benefit compared to which the others dwarf, provided they even apply.

Let's run through it:

- Discovery: The App Store is the perfect example where your product will get lost in the noise. If people don't know about it they won't find it. You have to advertise elsewhere and once you do that the means of distribution does not matter.

- payment system: There's enough payment systems you can use. Many are even cheaper than iTax.

- designing for various form factors: Yes, you do. But web technology is made for that. Right now my employer is doing a redesign of its core app - and the web developers make much, much faster progress than both the iOS and Android teams. Sadly we are not in a place yet where the native apps can be discontinued but they create a LOT more work than the web app - for no real gain. The only advantage they ultimately have is that they can run offline but as things are right now they will certainly discontinued at the earliest point it is feasible.

- access to the hardware. Yes, right now that still is a problem. But I think it's inevitable that web apps will get this access as well. If Apple tries to stall on these things they will inevitably lose.

I clearly can see that you are not a developer and therefore cannot assess the real costs here. I have been doing both iOS and Android work in the past and the one universal constant here is that making native apps is an extremely time consuming progress. If you only need to do it once, it is manageable. If you have to do it twice (as is the standard right now) it gets expensive. If you have to do it three times (as when another mobile OS emerges) it becomes prohibitive.

Jim Glue

I am not CURRENTLY a developer, not of web or mobile apps. But I have been both. And I've been in the business over 30 years. As such, I've "been there, done that" with the eternal quest of "write once, run everywhere".

I do not disagree with you in the slightest if "optimizing the cost of development" is your highest priority, a web site is much less costly than a website, and an iOS app, and an Android app.

But...if I didn't care about the usability of my app all that much -- I'd look into the frame works that let you create ALL THREE from one source: https://www.lifewire.com/develop-for-ios-android-windows-mac-1994294

Discovery is a HUGE problem on the web, even more than on mobile app stores. Then again, if it's a corporate website/app, then discovery isn't an issue.

And yes, there are many payment systems. But it's SO NICE that with either the iOS App Store or Google's, you enter just one payment info and you can buy everything. And with Apple Pay, so much easier still.

Then again, I'm back to talking about the user experience. If you don't CARE all that much about what the user has to go through to buy something through your site...then it's no big deal.

I have yet to come across a mobile website that wouldn't be much better as a native app. But of course, that's from the pov of someone who isn't paying for the development.

Per "wertigon" Ekström

@Tester:

I remember back in the good old days of web developers having to do IE6 and NS4 support. Had a couple of friends that let the clients see how much extra the IE6 support would cost them. You might want to consider a similar strategy, e.g. provide these tiers to the client:

Progressive Web App: $10 000
+iOS adaptation: $5 000
+Android native app: $5 000
+iOS native app: $15 000

Discovery is a big problem, yes, but it's even worse in the app store. On the web, at least you got review sites, blogs, and Facebook helping you to decide which apps to get.

Tester


@PWE:

It's not that simple for our use case. The customers buy a service and the app is the access to the service, so development is an ongoing process. But your cost relations very nicely exemplify the problem (aside from having Android too low, it'd also be $15000 in relation to the others, not counting having to buy overpriced Apple hardware for iOS development, of course.)

The main problem with the native apps is the same for both platforms: Testing is a lot more time consuming than for a PWA because turnaround times with app store submissions are too high. With a web app we could push a hotfix in 5 minutes (and do so) but for the native apps they have to go through the entire process over again before they can be submitted (to avoid rejection) so instead of hotfixing we collect all reports over several weeks and handle them in one go. So there's simply no way to get a 5 minute turnaround for a trivial bug and this is starting to annoy some customers who also work with the web version.

Jim Glu

Hi Per,

What are you smoking? There are review sites for apps galore. I get facebook ads for apps in my feed every day.

I ask a simple question and none of you have answered. Name a web app that gives as good an experience as the native ios/Android app.

Even Facebook tried the web app route. They gave up on it after not too long and put out a native app.

Salesforce on the other hand, offers only it's web app for Android. iOS gets native iPhone and iPad apps, but you can consider it a win for web apps that Salesforce no longer makes an Android app.

Tester

@Jim:

" There are review sites for apps galore. I get facebook ads for apps in my feed every day. "

Sure there are. And once PWAs become more commonplace there will be review sites for those as well. But ulitmately hsving the app store provides one more indirection to the content. You can hot-link a web app from any website and immediately have a look. For a native app you first have to visit the app store, click through a lot of red tape, then install it and then hsve a look. It takes more time and increases barriers.

"I ask a simple question and none of you have answered. Name a web app that gives as good an experience as the native ios/Android app."

That's hardly the point. The real point is that the economics do not scale. Making a native app costs a lot more money and takes away the ability to quickly react to problems.

"Even Facebook tried the web app route. They gave up on it after not too long and put out a native app."

But that was when the web app capabilities were a lot more limited.

"Salesforce on the other hand, offers only it's web app for Android. iOS gets native iPhone and iPad apps, but you can consider it a win for web apps that Salesforce no longer makes an Android app."

... wanna bet that it's only a matter of time until they transition iOS to the web app as well? If this allows them to cut costs once. who is to say that they won't do it again? What this really tells us is that on Android nobody is holding bsck the web, unlike Apple, which is slowly turning Safari into the modern equivalent of IE6 (i.e. that browser that always requires an excess of added work.) Short term this may work but the more Apple starts to lag behind on the web front to ensure their app economy the more it will hurt their reputation.

So, no matter how you cut it: Theres only two beneficiaries of native apps: The operators of the OSs' main app stores, i.e. Apple and Google, which have total control over all content.

Jim Glue

I'll take the bet on Salesforce keeping their iOS (iPhone and iPad) apps. The reason they dropped Android is because, for their customer base, it's overwhelmingly iOS and Android is a hassle to support all the variants.

I agree with you that there's nothing like a web site/app for instant distribution of changes and bug fixes. Apple has brought their review time way down from where they started. But yes....the app store is a "not in our control" portion that really makes rolling out a product on a certain date problematic.

I don't do any consumer mobile apps...but for enterprises, they get to have their own app store. The wrinkle there is it's only for employees of the enterprise, not the enterprises' customers. And as a consultant, you have to have someone at the enterprise client do the final build to use their corporate signing key.

I've not once said that mobile apps are more convenient to develop or cheaper than web apps. It's just the cost of doing business in today's mobile first world where you will be competing against native apps even if you think web apps are more convenient for your development.

Tester

@Jim Glue:

"I've not once said that mobile apps are more convenient to develop or cheaper than web apps. It's just the cost of doing business in today's mobile first world where you will be competing against native apps even if you think web apps are more convenient for your development."

I also do mostly enterprise work and I already see how much "better" the native app really is. Two years ago the web version was a crutch, over last year the it became quite usable, but by now it starts to become the serious choice, now that it is being ported to a true PWA. The thing is, web technology is ever getting better, but the native version is still stuck with the same API as many years ago - most of the added capabilities are mere sugarcoating. It's only a matter of time until they really are on par and can compete. We're not quite there yet but we'll get there. And then the economics won't justify native apps for many tasks anymore. The only real benefit for native apps is the years of head start they have.


Jim Glue

Hi Tester,

Do you have a public example of such a web/mobile app that you think exemplifies what can be done? I'd like to try it out.

Ville

Nokia’s dumbphones are selling well in India and smartphones are not, says Counterpoint.

rjc730

As part of Telstra Australia restructure Stephen Elop has lost his job:

https://www.mobileworldlive.com/featured-content/top-three/telstra-revamp-sees-departure-of-elop/

"Elop, who joined Telstra as group executive for technology, innovation and strategy in April 2016, will leave the company tomorrow (31 July), but “will maintain a close relationship with the business”, CEO Andrew Penn said in a statement."

BennyDover

“Progressive Web App: $10 000
+iOS adaptation: $5 000
+Android native app: $5 000
+iOS native app: $15 000”

And this is completely PS.
Let’s take a bigger and better example.
https://www.computerworld.com/article/3131906/apple-mac/ibm-says-macs-are-even-cheaper-to-run-than-it-thought.html
Same goes with the iPhone. iPhones saves money when we talk about the TCO.

Tester

@Benny Dover:

You clearly missed the point PWE was making entirely! All that stuff doesn't matter one bit when multi-platform software development is evaluated. Every additional platform costs money, and native app development is a lot more expensive than web development.
And say what you want, nobody aside from some iFools can afford to limit themselves to iOS when providing a service. You need Android. And you also need the web. And if doing one solution for everything is viable, it's also a lot cheaper to deploy.

Anyway, about your link:

I cannot judge the numbers in that article but I already said last time when this came up that some of them are very questionable.

First, those who choose Mac are those who are comfortable with it (hence less service calls), second, I cannot confirm any of it in my own work environment (Apple users calling the helpdesk is far, far more frequent than Windows users) and last but not least, compared to what kind of PC? We have no idea if the Windows problems come from Windows or just buying too cheap. I suspect the latter somehow.

But be it as it may, the current line of Macs are excellent office computers (as long as they work, that is...), but go beyond that and ... ugh... And please let's talk again when these soldered together abominations are in need of repair. THAT'S when the real cost will be decided. I have seen this happen once: Instead of quick hardware replacement that machine was out of order long enough that a replacement had to be purchased.

The biggest problem with Macs isn't even touched, i.e. the piss-poor backwards compatibility of Apple products in general. That's not really conductive to in-house software if it constantly needs maintenance just for Apple ditching some old feature, or switching hardware platforms every now and then. I have seen that happen, too, when working in Apple-only environments. One of my employer's customers heavily depends on some old Carbon-based framework and are facing a giant problem, now that Carbon has been dumped for 64 bit and Apple announcing to end 32 bit support. The general consensus at the moment is to port to Linux/Qt instead of modernizing the Mac code. It looks like the safer bet long term.

One other thing I noticed recently is that user comment in Apple related articles have grown a lot more negative recently. Theres clearly some frustrated customers out there


"Same goes with the iPhone. iPhones saves money when we talk about the TCO."

Citation needed!

Jim Glu

Why do you need a citation when you won't believe them anyway.

You don't believe the customer satisfaction ratings and prefer your anecdotes.

Macs are selling better than they ever have. But if you want a franken machine that you can self service...a Mac isn't what you want.

If you want a powerful machine that's unix under the hood plus a great user interface with great software....and can easily run Windows in vm for those things you need...a Mac is a great machine.

The Carbon switch and transition was long ago. There were many years your client had to make and execute plans. Maybe linux is a better platform for them if running a specific home built piece of software is their number one desire. But don't kid yourself, Linux isn't "forever" any more than any other OS. I have a couple old HP enterprise services I picked up on the cheap. Windows runs on them just fine. No modern linux does. Not one. Sucks as I really wanted one of them to be a linux box. And sure...with enough effort I could find the old version of linux these shipped with, track down the HP specific drivers, yadda yadda...but that's far more effort than I wish to make.

Each of these choices comes with their own price and trade offs.

Hope they don't use Excel. While OpenOffice is fine as a Word replacement...anybody that uses excel for more than the absolute basics needs a Windows or a Mac with real Microsoft Excel.

No guesses on Apple's performance for the qtr? Must be at least decent as the rumors are already focusing on how terrible the NEXT qtr will be. Same thing that was said about this qtr when it was the next.

Meanwhile...the Galaxy S9 is such a stinker that even Samsung had to admit it in their own announcement. The S9 is a great phone, the best Samsung has ever made. Nothing wrong with it at all. Low sales due to Apple stealing their customers and the mid-range "good enough" eating sales from below.

Nobody taking up the slack in Samsung premium sales...it's just a part of the Android market that is going away.

BennyDover

Do you have any idea how big thing it is when IBM says that they are happier with the Macs, iPads and iPhones than with their own stuff and then they add that they actually save tons of money too. It is Freaking IBM!

BennyDover

“Samsung mobile operating profit declines 34%, revenue down 20%

BennyDover

Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2018 third quarter ended June 30, 2018. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $53.3 billion, an increase of 17 percent from the year-ago quarter.

http://macdailynews.com/2018/07/31/apple-beats-street-with-best-june-quarter-ever/

Per "wertigon" Ekström

So Apple is essentially flat (technically, a growth of 0.65% quarter-to-quarter) from the year before in iPhone units, while again increasing revenues.

What does this mean? For one thing, unless the iPhone announced in the next quarter is another Jesus phone, Apple will most probably be flat, even down slightly in units this year.

We do know this year will bring very few innovations or reasons to buy the new iPhones though, and given the higher price tag, many people will be more hesitant to buy a new iPhone every year. This coming year WILL hurt and Q4 next year will most probably see around 210M units total.

Will this be a problem though? Apple is now operating on an independent axis from the rest of the market. So, if the rest of the market performs poorly, Apple will perform great, and vice versa. Full market 2018 will be interesting to watch, but the Apple axis is not entirely orthogonal to the other market axis, so it will have to follow the rest of the market eventually.

Fun times!

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