Sunday, May 26, 2013

Are cross-platform apps important to you?


A while back I wrote a post detailing which tablet is the right one to buy.  6 months and the influx of Windows Tablets hasn't changed my view of what tablet is right for every consumer.  The choice comes down to #1 what OS have you spent the most money in?  And #2 what size tablet you need for your forecasted use.

If you've already spent money in on particular OS platform, are cross-platform apps important for you at all?  I think consumers should purchase all media in cross-platform apps rather than OS specific apps like iTunes, Windows Store, Google Play, or Amazon.

When I say cross-platform media apps, I mean apps like Zinio, Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, and Slacker.  You can get the same magazines, books, video, and music that you can from each of the three major mobile OS (iOS, Android, and Windows 8) specific apps, but should you purchase from cross-platform apps or not?


I get asked all the time which tablet is the best one to buy.  My first response to this question is "Where have you spent the most money?"  If you've been a long time iPhone and iPad user, stick to iOS because your apps, content and data will still be available.  If you've been an Android user, stick to Android because you content will carry on with each new device.  This is the same for every OS platform available today with the exception of maybe BlackBerry.  They recently released BlackBerry 10 and they are leaving the old BlackBerry OS in the past so none of the current apps work with older devices.

I asked in the title if cross-platform apps are important because I believe they are, but they may not be for others.  If I wanted to purchase a magazine, I could get the same magazine in Google play, iTunes Newsstand or an app like Zinio and 10 times out of 10, I would purchase the app from Zinio because it will be available on all of my devices.  I can download the Zinio app on iOS, Android, Amazon, and Windows 8 and the same magazine is available to me everywhere.  If I purchased the magazine on iOS, I would only be able to read that magazine on my iPhone or iPad.  The same would apply for Google play with Android devices.  This housed in app flaw would apply for music and video purchased within these OS specific eco-systems as well.

It this a bad thing?  That would depend on you as the consumer.  Are you a die-hard loyalist and will only own iOS, Android or Windows products?  If so, drive on.  Purchase your media within your eco-system and never look back.  But if you are the normal consumer and may switch between these 3 platforms for one of many reasons, you should really consider cross-platform apps to make these purchases.

Messaging used to be a big consideration when picking a mobile platform but those days are soon coming to an end.  Many consumers world-wide are transitioning to messing apps that can be downloaded on every platform instead of sticking to device specific messaging apps.  BlackBerry recently announced that their BBM messing app which is loved and coveted by many is coming to Android and iOS in the summer.  Google recently switched their GoogleTalk app to "Hangouts" and they too made the chat app available on many platforms.

Microsoft has been at the forefront in cross-platfrom messaging since its messaging app always integrated SMS, Facebook chat, and Windows Messenger.  They recently announced that Google chat will be integrated as well so their app will still be at the forefront of cross-platform messaging.

Apple's iMessage apps remains the lone single platform messaging app.   Apple does a good job of integrating Google and Yahoo chat capabilities into iMessage but iMessage in itself isn't available cross-platfrom yet.  I suspect they too will release apps to take its chat app cross-platform.

In the end, I'd want to purchase media one time and have it available on every mobile platform regardless of which OS I choose rather than purchasing a song on iOS or Android and only have it available to me on that OS.  The same would apply for movies, magazines, TV shows, music, books and any other type of media that would lock you into an eco-system rather than enabling you to move your media to whatever platform you decide to adopt.

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