This being a blog about mobile app testing, we’re always interested to hear from those who think that apps will soon be irrelevant. Mostly because if they’re right, we’ll need to change the name of this blog. You gotta stay on top of these things.
Anyway, investor Saar Gur doesn’t think apps will go belly up anytime soon, but he does think the current mobile ecosystem is ripe for disruption with what he calls smart mobile services. Here’s the crux of his argument from a recent TechCrunch article:
What do I mean by a Service versus an App?
Well, most mobile app developers have built their user experiences to look a lot like a desktop application jammed on a phone. I open up the app when I need something. I open up Outlook on my desktop to check email (I am on Gmail, but work with me here), and I open up my Yelp app on my iPhone when I need a restaurant recommendation. Same, same.
I am either in it, or it is off. For the mobile apps running in the background (e.g., email), they currently don’t add any utility to my offline experiences and interactions. This will continue to work for many apps going forward, but there will be an entire new generation of Services (vs. Apps) that will run in the background, be with me, and add value to my daily flow, productivity and experiences.
What do I mean by “Smart”?
“Smart” means understanding a user and understanding their physical and mental state.
Smart services will process user information in the background to make accurate predictions around real-time user intention and will offer suggestions, results and different user interfaces/interactions based on their prediction of state.
Smart example: Google predictive search in mobile: By adding location data, Google can predict better search queries and search results – improving the user experience.
Very few apps today do any processing to figure out the context and state of the user. They could use passive location data, where I am, who I am with, web services and information, etc. to make assumptions about the user (e.g., Saar is at home now, or Saar is driving) and interact with me differently as a function of state.