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Wrangling apps in the Smartphone Wild West

A talk by Suzanne Ginsburg

About the Talk

November 17, 2010 2:30 PM

Google Campus, Mountain View, CA

Google Campus, Mountain View, CA

Less than one year ago, most of Suzanne's clients were requesting iPhone app design. Today, they are still asking for iPhone app design, but many also ask, "Do you do Android, too?" Most plan to start with one platform, see how things go, then decide whether to invest in a second platform. This roll-out strategy is often tied to engineering costs. Since few developers possess the coding skills each platform requires—Objective C for iPhone and Java for Android—it's often necessary to hire two development teams. But what about design?

Suzanne wondered whether she would have to do twice the work when designing for the iPhone and Android? And what will happen if the Windows, Palm, and Blackberry app stores take off? Would she have to do five times the work? This dilemma reminds us of the browser wars back in 1996, when Netscape and Microsoft hired evangelists to teach design and coding for their respective browsers. Eventually, industry-wide standards replaced their proprietary standards, but it didn't happen overnight. Suzanne will discuss the current state of affairs for smartphone app design and ways app designers can cope with increasing fragmentation.

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