Apple App Store and Android App Market are bringing more spotlight than ever to the applications for mobile handsets. Though a vast number of applications already exist for Windows Mobile, Blackberry or Symbian, developers are working hard to write the next killer app on the iPhone and Android platform.
What criteria should guide developers when designing the next mobile killer app? Here are some suggestions of the ingredients a mobile killer app better have:
- Useful. There must be a clear value to the user. What problem does the app solve? How is people impacted? Who/how many are impacted?
- Usability. User experience first. Simple, fast and engaging.
- Immediacy. Must be useful here and now, where and when I need it.
- Context-Aware. Intelligent enough to know where are you, with whom, what are you doing (on a call, or a meeting) , your weather, and have the app behave accordingly.
- Viral / Social. Know your community and your friends.
- Coolness. Beautiful, elegant and enjoyable.
To these criteria, add this principle: “The innovation […] is not that they let us do something new, but that they allow us to do what we already do better, more often, in more places and more quickly.” -Joshua Porter
I let you test which winners of the Android Developer Challenge I do not have these ingredients nor follow that principle:
cab4me: “Ever been looking for a cab? cab4me is the answer. Anywhere. Anytime.” CompareEverywhere: “Shop smarter using your phone. Compare prices, read reviews, and connect with local stores.” Ecorio: “Ecorio automatically tracks your mobile carbon footprint, suggests transit and carpooling alternatives and lets you stay carbon neutral by offsetting your trips easily.” GoCart: “Scan a product’s barcode with your phone’s camera and view all the best prices online and at nearby, local stores.” Life360: “From major natural disasters to little things like your child wandering away at the mall, there is a lot you might worry about. Life360 can help.” Locale: “Locale is an advanced settings manager that automatically changes your phone’s settings based on conditions, such as location.” PicSay: “Easy to use image editor that enables you to quickly personalize your pictures and share them with friends or photo sites.” Softrace: “Turn your workout into a thrilling race and challenge the world in real time.” TuneWiki: “TuneWiki Social Media Player, is an advanced player, featuring synchronized lyrics for audio or video, translation, music maps and a social network.” Wertago: “The mobile application nightlifers have been waiting for. Find the hottest parties in town and connect with friends and others all night long.
Compare to the the top apps downloaded from Handango for Blackberry, Palm, Windows Mobile and Symbian, and judge where is the future and where the past. No wonder Nokia is setting a Symbian app challenge.
Two links to nice mobile apps videos and the latest of TechCrunch on App Market:
Google Maps for Mobile
A Sneak Peak At The Android App Market
What Is The Deal With This Stupid Lighter iPhone App?
This Lighter App shows the powers of location and social network combined. It is a successful App and the only ingredient that is missing from the list above is “useful”!
Update: Six iPhone applications that combine location and social networks, in TechCrunch