Listening to Tim O'Reilly' keynote at the New York Web 2.0 conference, he reminisced about the browser wars of the past. He was making the point that there is an unevenness on the web; previously on the web and now on mobile.
In the bad old days, web sites were labeled as being "best viewed on Netscape", or "we recommend Explorer for this web site". If you have the wrong browser, your internet experience will suffer.
Today, there are 100,000 applications for the iPhone, yet if you have a BlackBerry, so sorry. A friend sent me an invite to IM on her Blackberry - sent to my iPhone - outta luck. There is - as there was in the browser wars - different platforms, different applications for different mobile phones. How social is that?
PC World, in a recent article "Fragmentation Prevents Viral Marketing in Mobile" by Nancy Gohring - she echo's Tim (or Tim echos Ms. Gohring). Here she talks about the massive success of web based social networking - which required practically zero marketing.
"On the Internet, sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace grew so big so quickly based on word of mouth,... People told their friends about the sites, and those people told their friends, who immediately could use the sites on their computers. Growth didn't depend on huge traditional marketing programs"
On the mobile platform, if your friends are on Android or Blackberry and you - iPhone, there will be a chasm in your social landscape.
In the PC article, there was no solution - until such time that all mobile phones accept the same operating system (OS). Good luck with that. However - could developers focus their application a step above the fray? Could the launch of a new super-social-app be simultaneously built for all major mobile platforms? Or perhaps a middle-ware layer be constructed that converts each of the diverse OS's and defines a new commonality. Why not? This has been done in the database world, so that data tools could easily and quickly sync with different database types?
I ask.. why not? Your comments appreciated.