This was perhaps my most enjoyable session, for the panelists’ chemistry along with Alex McNabb’s proved to be extremely fun and straight to the tough questions.
It would be prudent to mention the most eye-opening issue raised, which was that it really is all about the apps, with voice being the first app and the first real “application” on a mobile phone was SMS, and by far the most successful to date.
The omnipresent topic was of course the rise of Android “like a rash” as Mr. McNabb put it, and the Nokia “girlfriends” as Mr. McNabb also put it, referring to the original girlfriend (Symbian) and the new one (Microsoft).
After the to-and-fro by each panelist, trying to 1-up the other, a few important remarks were made by Nokia’s Arto Joensuu. He noted that Nokia’s presence at ArabNet as the only manufacturer was proof that Nokia’s policy has always been involved in the local, to become the global dominant manufacturer it is today.
The surge in mobile apps has also seen low-quality, “disposable” apps that brands create for no particular purpose or reason. To this, the panelists agreed that quality apps should be developed, and a stripped-down version available for free, so users can try it out before dishing out the cash. This way, both user and developer are happy.
With growing chunks of our life stored on mobiles and tablets, the question of privacy concerns rises. With greedy developers wanting to know everything about you sneaking in their bots with their app. This is to be expected in open-source platforms like Android, but to find it in Apple’s “Walled-Garden” was a serious blow to user trust in mobile apps. The panelists predicted that to fight these malicious apps, you either pull them off the market, like Android does, or create apps that counter the malicious ones, much like an anti-virus program.
The trend is heading towards augmented reality day by day, with all the panelists agreeing this is the “next big thing” in mobile apps. To this, Nokia’s Arto stressed that before, it used to be the device that had “the next best thing”, but today, it’s all about the apps and software, and the services they provide.
Another problem the panelists addressed was the issue of “screwing over the operators”, Mr Arto said that is absolutely not what app developers are trying to do, instead, it should be a “win-win” situation, where adequate data tubes provided by the operators allow the download and purchase of apps, with the operator generating profit from the data being exchanged.
All in all, it was an informative panel with plenty of cross-platform competition and audience interaction.