Archive for the ‘Apps’ Category

Observations: Applications – June 22, 2010

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Standard disclaimer: don’t take from my selections, ordering, headlines, etc. any indications of the interests or plans of my employer (if you do, you’ll undoubtedly be disappointed when they don’t play out.)

Observations: Applications – May 13, 2010

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Standard disclaimer: don’t take from my selections, ordering, headlines, etc. any indications of the interests or plans of

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my employer (if you do, you’ll undoubtedly be disappointed when they don’t play out.)

Observations: Applications – April 11, 2010

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

Standard disclaimer: don’t take from my selections, ordering, headlines, etc. any indications of the interests or plans of my employer (if you do, you’ll undoubtedly be disappointed when they don’t play out.)

Observations: Applications – March 10, 2010

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Standard disclaimer: don’t take from my selections, ordering, headlines, etc. any indications of the interests or plans of my employer (if you do, you’ll undoubtedly be disappointed when they don’t play out.)

Observations: Applications – February 17, 2010

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Standard disclaimer: don’t take from my selections, ordering, headlines, etc. any indications of the interests or plans of my employer (if you do, you’ll undoubtedly be disappointed when they don’t play out.)

Observations: Applications – January 23, 2010

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Standard disclaimer: don’t take from my selections, ordering, headlines, etc. any indications of the interests or plans of my employer (if you do, you’ll undoubtedly be disappointed when they don’t play out.)

Observations: Applications – December 22, 2009

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Standard disclaimer: don’t take from my selections, ordering, headlines, etc. any indications of the interests or plans of my employer (if you do, you’ll undoubtedly be disappointed when they don’t play out.)

Observations: Applications – November 15, 2009

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

Standard disclaimer: don’t take from my selections, ordering, headlines, etc. any indications of the interests or plans of my employer (if you do, you’ll undoubtedly be disappointed when they don’t play out.)

Carrier Speed vs. Valley Speed

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Last week, I participated in the Open Mobile Summit in San Francisco. It was a very impressive event. My favorite session was probably the keynote panel on day 2 with Walt Mossberg (The Wall Street Journal) moderating (sort of), John Donovan (AT&T), Kevin Lynch (Adobe), Michael Abbott (Palm), and Vint Cerf (Google). It was a great demonstration of “Big Bell Dogma” vs. Internet innovation.

My panel was the “Fireside chat: Future of the carrier deck.” Again, I think the contrasts in perspective and approach were pretty apparent.

For my intro, I explained that I think there are three fundamental truths that shape how we’re thinking about the deck and app stores:

  1. Customers just want to do what they want to do, when they want and where they want. We need to let that happen.
  2. App developers just want to get their great ideas to market as fast as
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    possible. Carriers can’t figure out what will succeed and what won’t, we need to let the market decide.

  3. However, mobile operators still hold a unique place in the ecosystem. We can take steps that create value for customers and developers.

With those truths in mind, we’re focused on what one of my teammates (Brian Huey) phrased as “Do you want innovation to happen at carrier speed or valley speed?” We want it to happen at valley speed, which means that the carriers need to stop being a chokepoint and instead focus on how to add value without slowing down the process of bringing innovation to market. We don’t add value by trying to determine which apps are worthy of appearing in our “stores.” We do add some value by allowing customers to choose to pay for apps and content through their wireless bill. We do add some value by helping with marketing so that customers don’t have to wade through an endless supply of similar apps. We really add value when we open up our assets (network, location, etc.) so that developers can expand their creative limits.

Carriers are great at operating network assets, and we manage an existing relationship with the end customer. We aren’t great at writing consumer software or developing consumer-facing interfaces. In those areas, we need to get out of the way and let the highly capable players (startups and established players) who specialize in those areas to do what they’re great at. (Needless to say, not all carriers share this perspective.)

In the spirit of getting out of the way, the week before OMS, at our developers conference Sprint announced three pretty significant changes in how we view the carrier deck and app stores:

  1. We don’t believe that carriers are the best at operating app stores. Since Palm’s App Catalog and the Android Market are both well designed app stores, we’ve never included our carrier deck on the Palm Pre (and soon Pixi) nor on any of the Android devices we’ve launched – and we never will. However, as Microsoft’s Windows Marketplace and RIM’s Blackberry App World are establishing similar credibility, we will be removing our deck from Windows Mobile and Blackberry devices. There’s no need to confuse customers with multiple ways to get apps and there’s no need to force developers to submit to multiple stores.
  2. Similarly, feature phone users (those that don’t have a smartphone like Android, Palm, or Blackberry) still need an easy way to find, buy, and download apps and content. This is where the carrier deck still makes sense. But we don’t believe that the carrier is the best to run this app store, nor
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    to figure out where it can go in the future. So, we are issuing an RFP to outsource the operation of our deck to someone who specializes in app stores, can do it faster and better for developers and customers, and can take it all to the next level.

  3. We also know that there are already lots of applications out there that haven’t bothered fighting through the gauntlet of carrier approvals. Instead, they’re distributing their apps through independent mobile app stores. Probably the best of these (at least the most successful) is GetJar. At our developer conference we also announced that we’re opening up our deck so that when our customers search in our deck, they’ll also be able to find and download everything that’s in GetJar.

I’d love to hear what you think? Is Sprint heading in the right direction, or should carriers continue to insert themselves more in the process? Please leave your comments below.

Enterprise Mobility Matters

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Philippe Winthrop, an analyst with Strategy Analytics, recently interviewed me for his blog “Enterprise Mobility Matters.” I believe the discussion reflects where the industry is heading and particularly the opportunities ahead of us in the Business space. If these are topics of interest to you, you may enjoy

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reading it.

To give you a sense, here’s my answer to the first question:

Enterprise Mobility Matters: Hi Russ. Thanks for taking the time to chat with me today. I know you must be swamped, so let’s get to it. Where do you see the greatest opportunity for growth in enterprise mobility?

Russ McGuire: I think the magnitude of opportunities almost can’t be fathomed. I believe we are on the early side of the Mobility Revolution, which will have as big of an impact on how business is conducted as the Internet Revolution and the PC Revolution. I believe the outcome of the Mobility Revolution is that mobility becomes integrated into virtually every product that has a power source, into every service that businesses offer, and into every process that exists within business – just as microprocessors/PCs and IP connectivity have been completely integrated into businesses. This revolution will redefine how we, as individuals, interact with the world and how businesses compete across industries. Bottom line, it’s huge.

I would specifically point to three areas of huge growth within the enterprise space. The first is pure bandwidth – mobile broadband. Mostly today that means 3G data cards, but 4G is coming on very rapidly. The second area of huge growth is in mobile business applications – software that runs on the handset that employees use to do their jobs. The third area is in machine-to-machine – the embedding of wireless connectivity into devices that businesses use to more efficiently and effectively operate core processes.

You can read the entire interview here.