Do the Mobile Platform App Wars Matter?

I noticed an item this morning or yesterday that said that Microsoft’s Live Messenger app had been downloaded over a million times. That got me to thinking a bit. As someone who is happily platform agnostic I find that good news. Folks who like Messenger and who use an iPhone aren’t limited by some sort of platform prejudice or differentiation factor from the manufacturers. (Of course it could be argued that Apple has not much to lose in this case because Microsoft’s Mobile platform is withering a bit and hoping for a resurrection when Windows Phone 7 gets released.

But there are indeed applications that only end up on one platform or another, and of course this is most evident in the battles now in full stride between Google and Apple. Some apps happily coexist on both Android and iOS. Some don’t, and the way I read things that will continue, whether it be a competition thing, or just silly game playing.

But back to the Messenger app thing for a moment. The other interesting thing that news item tells me is that there are quite a few users who either don’t care about the whole branding/differentiation thing as long as they can use whatever apps they want on whatever device they want. Of course in today’s crazy App centric world there are always alternatives to most solutions as well.

So, admitting that I might be overreaching, here’s the question: Does being able to have an app on only one device affect your mobile gadget purchasing decision?

6 Comments

  1. Roberto

    06/30/2010 at 1:28 pm

    It does for me. Maybe it goes back to my building stereo days, but I always like to choose my components based on how I like the sound they produced. I like my devices to operate the way I like to use them and personally for me there is no one company that does everything the way I would like it to, so I mix and match to serve my needs.

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  2. Stuart

    06/30/2010 at 1:29 pm

    It depends on what you use your mobile for? Like with laptops and PCs, if there are applications that you need and are not available (or games for that matter) then it will make a decision on your choice. I really wanted Skype on 3G so I wouldn’t have purchased a mobile device that didn’t give me that.

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  3. Jeff Jackson

    06/30/2010 at 1:58 pm

    Yes. Laridian bible software is a big one for me since I’ve spent so much on Bibles. Also SPB programs as I prefer rolling my own UI using Mobile Shell et al as well as the functionality of the other tools it provides.

    I’m leaning towards either Android 3 years down the road or abandoning smartphones altogether and spending the data plan money on WWAN on a notebook or TabletPC instead.

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  4. GoodThings2Life

    06/30/2010 at 3:00 pm

    Yes, they matter… to technical people in the know and fanboys. To the average consumer, no, as you have pointed out it’s purely a matter of “can I do what I want to accomplish and does it fit my budget?” If the answer is “yes” to ANY given device, then they will buy it.

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  5. Mark

    07/01/2010 at 8:54 am

    “Does being able to have an app on only one device affect your mobile gadget purchasing decision?”

    Yes indeed! Two applications are why I own iPhone and while I’ve looked at several Android phones, I won’t switch. They are Slingplayer and MLB at Bat. Yes, they’re both available on Android but Slingplayer is a recent addition to Android. In addition and more important, MLB at Bat with live game video is ONLY available on iPhone. Therefore, for better or for worse, I own an iPhone and an iPad.

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  6. Nameless

    07/03/2010 at 11:44 pm

    Yes, it does affect my pocket computer shopping decision-making. Enough that I don’t want to move from Windows Mobile.

    Yes, you read that right. Not iOS, not Android-Windows Mobile. I already have spent a pretty penny in apps for it, and this was after I already dumped Palm OS 5 (and the apps I bought for that) in favor of WM just because it had a decent Web browser for once, among other things.

    I’m used to my PocketBreeze + iLauncher tweaked Today screen interface and wouldn’t give it up easily (in fact, if I got something with TouchFLO/HTC Sense or whatever on it, I’d disable it and turn on the two plugins mentioned above). PB even integrates very well with Pocket Informant, a first-class PIM suite whose iOS version’s functionality doesn’t match the WM version’s functionality yet. SoftMaker Office, even in its old 2006 incarnation, has desktop-class functionality that wipes the floor with everything else. TCPMP will play just about anything I throw at it, and will also let me switch between audio and soft subtitle streams in those .MKV-packaged files. Opera Mobile levels the Web browser playing field quite nicely, and Skyfire is also said to be quite nice as of 1.5. There’s also XnView Pocket and Resco Photo Viewer (which support animated .GIFs, thankfully), and the occasional drawing app like Pocket Artist as well.

    Yet I feel myself in that sort of tenuous Palm OS 5 position again because MS removed EVERYTHING I liked about Windows Mobile in the transition to Windows Phone 7, basically becoming MS-flavor iOS. I don’t even know what I would move to now. Maemo would’ve been my second choice, but look what happened to that…

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