Friday, September 5, 2008

Whoever Lets Mobile Apps Run on PCs First May Have Advantage In Mobile War

My take is that this will come from Google or Microsoft before we’ll see it happen from Apple.

Suppose Google creates an application for the Mac or Vista and allows Android users to import and use those apps on a computer.  What will that get Google?  Maybe a lot if done right.
  • Flexibility.  Some of the games may be just as playable on a desktop.  You aren’t limited to just playing them on your 3” screens.
  • Developers will love it particular if you allow computer users the same ability to buy and download the same apps for mobile platform.  Even users who do not own a platform device may also be customers.  After all, iTunes and other music stores allow folks to listen to music on both computers and dedicated music players.  Why not apps.
  • Increase the number of users who may migrate to this particular platform because the openness involved in being able to use the apps on their mobile devices as well as their computers.
If Google or Microsoft were to allow this, they may take it a step further can lock their users into a particular application that emulates their respective mobile platforms or their browsers.  Google has the added advantage of Gears, which allows Internet users to continue using their web apps offline as well as access to their data.  If Google makes Gears compatible with Android apps, it could create a ecosystem until what Apple has done with iTunes and its mobile devices.

Is this crazy?  Not at all.  It’s one additional way for platforms to differentiate themselves from the rest.  There is already wishful thinking among Apple fans that Cupertino will one day allow those same iPhone apps to run natively on Apple TV.   Since Microsoft and Google have no similar platform, naturally they can make what I’m talking about happen on computer platforms.

After all, I can see it happening already for Google’s Android even if Google may not sanction it.  The Android SDK has an emulator.  And Google is certainly more liberal about such things than Apple is.  If you can read ebooks or listen to music on multiple platforms or devices, why can't mobile warriors use their apps in their smartphones and the computers?

Note:  I wonder if this is also possible with Apple’s iPhone SDK or anyone has already tried using iPhone apps on the emulator.  I did a quick Google check and there have already been posts and forum discussions about it.  Not sure if anyone got it to work.  But I think it’s only a matter of time.

One More Note:  I pretty much left Apple out because we all know Jobs'll never let it happen.  "Think Different" only goes so far.  As for RIM and Symbian, they're still catching up at this point to Google.  So forget it.

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