Saturday, June 9, 2012

Website to Application: Appification

Last year I started to hear about discussion of launching mobile application first before launching website.  Remember $1 billion acquisition of Instagram?  If you happen to be one of shrinking minorities who do not have smartphone or iPad and google Instagram to use it, you are out of luck.  Because they do not have website where you can use the service.  Instagram is all on mobile.

Now I see this more and more.  Application is replacing website.  What used to be dynamically updated real-time content feed (aka Web 2.0) is now getting replaced by applications.

If you don't have mobile app, you don't have mobile content.
Think of mobile app as a bookmark to your service.

There are three trends driving appification of web:

1. Smartphones 

More than half of Americans now have smartphones.  This means more than 155 million people are connected to Internet all the time and have access to data stored in the cloud.  The distinction between what's on device and what's on cloud is becoming indistinguishable.  Also because of limited screen size website designers have incentives to come up with better user experience by providing custom app or adaptive website.

2. Mobile app stores

If Apple did not build App Store and create developer community around iOS platform, we may be at a different  place where adaptive website might be all we know.  But Apple did create App Store.  Not only they did, but they did it very well.  There are more than 500,000 applications available on Apple App Store, and the number continues to grow.  These apps mostly run on the cloud and pass the data back and forth with SaaS server in the backend, and provide custom experience to mobile users.

3. Facebook applications

One of the ultimate content is application.  Advertisers want to attract and hold on to visitor's eyeballs, and make them fans of the content.  When content is video it works better than text.  When content is game it works even better than video.  Companies like Buddy Media, Vitrue, and Involver are helping companies create these custom application content for Facebook to get better engagement with their fans.

It's interesting to hear that Facebook is re-launching its App Center.  Facebook must have realized this appification trend, and wants to accelerate the adoption by showcasing popular apps on its platform.

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