Thursday, 21 April 2016

Trends in Mobile Application Development - Part 2

software development companies

4. Implications for Developers

Hereafter we analyze the implication for developers of the three market trends presented in the previous section. In fact, the centralization of portal changes the way developers can distribute their application and reach a mass-market of consumers. The technological openness implies that developers at software development companies would use different standards to develop their application and somehow work in a more collaborative mode. Then, highly-integrated platforms offer more possibilities to develop more sophisticated applications and services. These trends can be seen as opportunities but also threats for developers. Therefore, it is crucial that developers have a good understanding of the possible implications of each trend. They need to be able to choose the platform for which they want to develop knowing all the implications.

4.1 Implications of portal centralization

Portal centralization is a major shift for developers. It allows them to reach all potential customers through one shop, which takes care of the administrative tasks, such as billing and advertising. On top of these deployment facilities comes the fact that platforms providing centralized portals count on application sales to increase their revenue and therefore heavily promote application downloads and thus widely increasing the pool of potential consumers. This promotion is mostly done through advertising, but more importantly through greatly enhanced user interfaces. Before the emergence of centralized portals it took a expert user to download and install third-party applications, usually involving an internet search and a credit card payment, on a personal computer and then a file transfer via Bluetooth. Now it has become a “one-click” operation directly executable on the mobile device. Moreover, platforms can leverage on user communities which also promote applications using the reviewing features of the shops. A negative side of strong centralization for developers is that they might have to conform to certain rules defined by the portal provider. This problem can be observed with Apple’s AppStore, which rules over which applications will be sold and which will be banned based on non-transparent criteria. To overcome these restrictions, the developer community has built alternative portals (Installer, Cydia) where developers can publish their applications. Unfortunately, only tech-savvy customers shop on such black markets, since phones must undergo a “jailbreak” procedure before they can access them.

4.2 Implications of technological openness

It is important for software development companies to know the implications of a move towards open source software offers two kinds of opportunities for application developers. First, as mentioned previously, moving towards open technology allows platform providers to reduce development costs and possibly increase the number of consumers. A greater number of platform consumers imply a greater number of potential application consumers for developers. Second, an open source project can provide career opportunities for developers willing to contribute to the platform development.

4.3 Implications of platform integration

The emergence of fully integrated end-to-end ecosystems, where the same people sell applications, manufacture devices and create their operating system, creates a coherent end-to-end approach, which makes it easier for applications to be developed, published, purchased, and used. There is less compatibility issues, which is a major problem in heterogeneous systems, where applications have to be fine-tune for specific devices with different display size for example. A drawback of high integration is the lack of alternatives if the solutions proposed by the platform do not suit the developer.

5. Conclusion 

In this paper, we described the implications that different market and technology trends have on the mobile and custom application development companies. The current evolutions show that the game for the developers has changed dramatically. There are many new opportunities for them to develop, distribute, and generate significant revenues with the emerging mobile application portals. Since the mobile application development landscape has substantially changed over the past several years, mobile development platforms have become more integrated and generally play the role of application portal, device manufacturer or both. As discussed in the paper, application portals tend to become more centralized, facilitating the link between developers and consumers. Moreover, several new platforms entered the open source community to lower their costs and possibly extend their consumer market by lowering prices and as a consequence increase their developer pool. In this changing environment, choosing for which platform to develop reveals to be challenging and we proposed three simple criteria: market size and accessibility, career opportunities, and creative freedom.

Author Signature: Shreyans Agrawal (

No comments:

Post a Comment