Mobile Monday London

Event: Living in a Multi Platform World

Jun, 2010

The mobile community has started to talk about how the tide is turning on App store mania and that the natural route forward is Web apps, HTML 5 and so on. Is this another example of wishful thinking - or is it reality? Isn't it actually all a bit more complicated than that, for example where does J2ME sit and doesn't that characterisation ignore the existence of Flash and Silverlight? What about Java FX?

In any case, is it even the main problem? While the technology related issues are of course important, isn't there a more fundamental issue relating to how real people actually use these mobile devices and services and the UI design required to deliver this? Differences in interaction styles and form factors challenge the idea of producing a single UI design for the various classes of phone, let alone when you take into account tablets, laptops, game consoles and so on.

Kindly hosted by Windows Phone at the Microsoft Offices in Victoria, and with an introductory keynote by Alex Reeve, Director of Mobile at Microsoft, our brave panel will tackle this wide ranging topic that includes everything from consumer behaviour through to choice of developer SDKs.

Marek Pawlowski of PMN, and organiser of the famous MEX Conference will moderate the panel session. Oded Ran from Microsoft will give us a platform vendor perspective and Ilia Uvarov from RG/A and Tom Hume of Future Platforms will bring the design and development perspectives. Nick Lansley of Tesco brings a major online retailer perspective and Jerry Ennis from Flirtomatic brings the mobile social angle.

Doors open at the usual time of 6.00 pm for a 6.30pm start at the Microsoft Conference Centre at 80 Victoria Street, London SW1E 5JL (map here). Networking drinks will follow the panel session and we're excited to hear that there will by a number of interesting devices on show during the networking as well.

Registration at will open shortly and is essential. As you can imagine security is pretty tight there and pre-registration is required.

Windows Phone Logo


Kindly hosted by Windows Phone

Wow, this was a popular event and generated much discussion both at the event, and afterwards. A big thank you to Oded Ran and the Windows Phone team for sponsoring the event and hosting us in their wonderful offices in Victoria. It was great.

Our regular columnist, Lauren McGregor has given her take on the event. Over to you Lauren.

At the latest Mobile Monday London event, the panel dissected the issues surrounding the various platforms that are available to application developers … are there too many? Are multiple platforms a bad thing? What does multi platform mean for end users, industry stakeholders, developers and device manufactures? This is no longer just about mobile as there are many different platforms to be integrated into the customer experience including in-store and online. How can we make it easier?

On the panel this week we had - Odense Ran, Microsoft, Tom Hume, Future Platforms, Jenny Ennis, Flirtomatic, Ilia Uvarov, RG/A, Nick Lansley, Tesco -- chaired by Marek Pawloski, MEX and PMN.

Fragmentation within the mobile industry is a huge issue, made more complicated by the variety of new devices coming to market every week. We also have millions of mobile devices equipped to handle voice and messaging, many have browser functionality and are Java enabled. However, the smartphone market is much smaller in comparison with approximately 11% market share. Tesco recognise this as an issue when it comes to applications i.e. the majority of its customers would not use an app. Flirtomatic started off life as a Java app five years ago, but found the same issue which prevented them from reaching all its potential customers. It found a simple and clever way of doing this … the mobile internet – which proved highly successful.

The developers behind the apps have to stump up most of the frustration when it comes to multiple platforms for their apps … developing, marketing and managing for each platform ... a big headache. What can handset manufacturers do to help developers navigate the current platform landscape and make a profit from investing in them? The general consensus on the night was competitive pricing... so if the price is right!

When it comes to application updates from the developer, additional complications can arise. Many consumers just don’t update their apps, this is largely due to perceived benefits for the users, but also the experience that the app stores provide; not making it clear enough to the user as to when an update is needed or how to download it. Tesco pointed out that Apple is one with its finger on the pulse here … making it quick and easy to be alerted of an update and highlighting it's benefits. One of Tesco’s recent updates for its ‘Finder app’ received a 97% update response rate. It puts this down to the fact that the update benefits were clearly communicated to the user. Perhaps a traffic light system for updates could work to let the user know how urgent the update is, therefore ensuring more downloads?

The issue of virtual currency and in-app payments raised its head during the debate and Flirtomatic, which uses virtual currency, said that it was difficult to decide how to bill users – PayPal, credit card? The panel agreed that credit card payments were the most efficient and well received method of payment for their customers. The best user case when talking mobile money is the emerging markets, a segment that is growing fast largely due to lack of access to PCs and/or credit cards for payments.

It is not all about multi platform though, the multiple channels that companies can now reach the end user with is also very exciting. An example from Tesco was that while watching a cookery programme on your TV set and being able to order the ingredients directly via a web link. Fragmentation is a price we have we have to pay for the benefit of having such a wide array of devices available to us, but also an opportunity to make something different … grab the users attention and make some money!

And not only did Lauren do a write up, but quite a few in our audience did too and they’re all well worth a read.

Simon Judge:

Adam Cohen Rose:


Panellist, Nick Lansley, also did a write up (although we actually had 200 folks there not 60, Nick!).

John Cooper:

Aurelian from Life is Better On: And there’s a small photoset on flickr from Aurelian too (the image above is one of this set – Thanks Aurelian!).

If we missed anyone’s write-up or pictures of the event, please get in touch so we can add the relevant link/s.


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