Apps are great, but Ecosystems are better

February 15, 2010
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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:

Eco1 

hitting the ‘movie’ button brings up a listing of which movies are on near you in time…


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:

Eco1 

hitting the ‘movie’ button brings up a listing of which movies are on near you in time and space.

Eco2 

Selecting a movie I can read synopses and information about possible locations.

Eco3

Selecting a location provides me with an option to get directions

Eco5 

And then, there I am, watching the utterly disappointing Wolfman.

Wolfman

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