Apps are great, but Ecosystems are better
By now, everyone is pretty much on the same page with apps on mobile devices. The popularity of these programs, which range from simple widgets to full applications, is not surprising given a) the model has been in existence for years (i.e. ‘applications’ running on PCs) and b) the simplicity of putting together a website or service which backs what is, in many cases, a simple rendering of the data.
However, something really special happens with these apps live not in the flat world of the operating system as most do, but in ecosystems. In this case, by ecosystem, I mean an environment in which applications can interact with each other in a seamless manner, one in which the user experience is at the fore. My favourite example of this right now is the adhoc-spontaneous-movie experience in the bing ecosystem on the iphone.
You start off at the bing home:
hitting the ‘movie’ button brings up a listing of which movies are on near you in time…
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