A new TKG report published today looks at some of the strategies behind mobile product development. Specifically, it tries to tackle the first question many companies run into: Which mobile platform offers the greatest opportunities?
In our conversations with companies extending their brands to the mobile space, this has been the subject of a lot of airtime. Options of course include SMS, WAP sites, downloadable Java applications and smartphone apps for the growing set of application “stores.”
“Do you go with device share, engagement share, data share, growth share, or the companies behind these devices such as Google and Microsoft?” asked Peter Schwab, Idearc’s director of mobile products. “It’s a tough landscape to determine where you throw your dart.”
The answer is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer: Different options exist for desired reach, engagement, target audiences and functionality. Deborah Eldred, R.H. Donnelley’s head of mobile product, weighed in on this issue in a past blog post, going for maximum reach with a strong push toward a variety of platforms.
Smaller companies with less development resources have applied different criteria to this decision. Yelp, for example, saw the iPhone as a no brainer because of the proven user bases that were accessing its mobile Web site on the iPhone, prior to the App Store’s launch. Glympse on the other hand went with Android in its recent app release, due to the capabilities of the platform.
Making this more difficult is the moving target that is the mobile industry today. Device and platform penetration will continue to shift with various carrier and OEM deals in the works. Android, for example, could be on as many as 18 new devices by year-end, making it an increasingly attractive choice for application reach. And what about the Palm Pre’s market reception? And an iPhone for 80 million Verizon subscribers?
There are myriad other factors and related data sets outlined in the report. Subscribers of TKG’s Mobile Local Media program can read the full report by logging into the home page and a summary is here.