Google Rebrands Enterprise Offerings
Google is dropping the term “Enterprise” from its products and repackaging the business versions of its offerings under the the new name Google for Work. The division’s president, Amit Singh, explained that the shift reflects an evolution in business technology that has been taking place over the past 10 years. “Corporate is normally associated with long sales cycles, centralized purchasing and software that sits on a shelf. Many of the things associated with the word ‘enterprise’ are not what we do,” said Singh.
While the gesture is more symbolic than anything for Google, it’s also representative of a sea change in the larger industry. It demonstrates that smart enterprises are moving away from inflexible business software that’s far from user-friendly and towards tools that look a lot more like what we choose to use in our everyday lives as consumers. On its product page, Google emphasizes in particular the ease of switching between desktop PCs, tablets and smartphones for workers on the go. We think this is no coincidence. The explosion of mobile devices has had major impact on the shape of business software today. Call it whatever you want; we’ll get behind any easy-to-use, elegant solutions that help us get work done more efficiently.
Nokia to Bring Offline Mobile Maps to Consumers
Jumping in the ring with Apple and Google, Nokia is bringing its map app for the enterprise to consumers. Nokia has built a successful mobile mapping business by selling to corporate customers like FedEx and Amazon, which benefit from features like the ability to operate without an internet connection. Why the shift to target consumers? Nokia says that they’re going where there’s an opportunity for scale, which will allow them to gather more feedback to fine-tune the app’s location engine. In the short term at least, the consumer app isn’t expected to generate financial returns, implying that Nokia is betting big on the value of data from additional users to improve their offering for business customers. But what’s most interesting about this move, from our perspective at least, is that it demonstrates that big companies are starting to wise up to the very real need for apps that work with little or no internet connection. The reality of smartphones and other mobile devices today is that we hop from 3G to 4G to WiFi to no service at all, and we expect our apps to work no matter what. Though Google has the maps game on lock right now, Nokia could actually prove a very interesting competitor if their offline capabilities catch on with consumers.
Can Indie App Developers Still Strike Gold?
Future Mark Zuckerbergs, take note: Vision Mobile’s Mark Wilcox argues that the odds of making millions as an independent app developer aren’t looking much better than playing the lottery these days. Competition in the app space is fierce, and only a few will be lucky (or, let’s say, talented) enough to create that magical breed of app that catches on like wildfire. A more plausible alternative for those looking to make big money in app development? As Wilcox puts it, “If you want to be an app millionaire, then build contract apps for businesses and grow a team. Then build some products for enterprise customers in niches that won’t attract immediate competition from much better funded rivals.” What he’s saying is that you don’t have to be the next Angry Birds or Snapchat to succeed. You just need to find the right niche for your offering. App developers can take heart.
Apple’s New iDevices Set to Include NFC Technology?
Wired broke a story this week that the iPhone 6, set to be released next Tuesday, will include near-field communication (NFC) technology. Although the technology has a wide range of applications, it has been most famously used to power payments through apps like Softcard (formerly known as Isis) and Google Wallet. While Android phones have included the technology for several generations, Apple has famously held out. No longer. There are major implications for developers if indeed Apple decides to step into the NFC-powered payments arena (and with all three major card brands signed on, we think it’s a safe bet.) Coupled with the iPhone’s TouchID technology, this news could signal a new era in payments technology and open the doors for new apps that put fast, secure, convenient payments at consumers’ fingertips. Developers know enough to pay attention when Apple makes a power play like this, and we’re betting the next generation of apps for the iPhone will include a slew of NFC and TouchID powered payments capabilities. It’s also worth noting that the so-nicknamed iWatch could also include NFC capabilities, which has the potential to push the wearables market forward by leaps and bounds. It’s safe to say we’ll be glued to our screens come next Tuesday’s announcements. Will you?