The killer smartphone application ?


What do you think the killer smartphone application is ? – sync to e-mail, calendar, contacts, business applicaitons, GPS navigation, games ? – or just the fact that the Smartphone platform is extensible and allows for new applications to be added ?

– Mike


Comments (8)

  1. Mahesh says:

    Extensibility is the key.

  2. Riki says:

    1) GPS navigation

    and runner up would be games. I don’t think you can put ‘extensible’ in the same question, that is what allows people to come up with all these weird and wonderful ideas that make smartphone interesting. smartphone wouldn’t be smartphone without this.

    Riki

  3. Ron McMahon says:

    The killer Smart Phone application will likely seamlessly integrate all of the excellent features of the phone / back-end systems and tools that support it. In regards to how I’d like to see this vision come to life, it would hopefully be something that disappears from my consciousness – kind of like your home thermostat.

    This handy invention controls the how and when of keeping your home at your preferred temperature. It is a technology that works so well, that you probably haven’t ‘interfaced’ with it for months. This device chugs away, enabling its features (like switching between cooling and heating depending on the season and outside temperatures) without requiring your consent or effort – a generally perfect implementation of technology.

    A ‘killer’ Smart Phone application needs to be as powerful and reliable as your home thermostat. You might think that a home thermostat isn’t very powerful, but the important point here is that it is powerful ENOUGH to do its job well – so well in fact that you likely don’t even bother to wonder ‘how’ it is doing its work. The best functioning technology is invisible, yet indispensable.

    A ‘killer’ application is one that I would put the same expectations and requirements on that I put to my thermostat – it must work well, be easy to learn and be reliable to the point of becoming invisible. Now that I’ve defined what a ‘killer’ application needs to be able to be like, on to the real point of this post.

    I have a vested interest in seeing technologies like the Smart Phone become widely deployed throughout the general population. My site (www.quickdrive.com) provides traffic, highway and Canada-US border crossing information (and more) to drivers via the Internet and Internet-enabled cell phones. In the 5+ years that this site has been running, I’ve seen a steady progression in the capabilities of handsets, and it is encouraging to see the Smart Phone platform moving to the point of becoming a real consumer product.

    For me, the killer application of the Smart Phone platform would automatically manage all of the implications of traffic on my life. For example, say I was traveling on my morning commute and an accident ahead of me blocks all traffic on my current route to work (this was one of my main motivators to create QuickDrive.com) my Smart Phone would kick in to action even before I was aware of the traffic incident, notifying me via an audible voice message that an accident had occurred on my planned route, the severity and estimated time delay to clear the incident. This isn’t yet the point of ‘killer’, as QuickDrive already makes this information available. Where the killer aspect comes to life is in how the Smart Phone then manages the implications of the event, checking my Exchange-based calendar for schedule implications, using my pre-defined rules (why are user-account Exchange rules limited to 32K? – grrr) to either reschedule or notify those who are impacted by my delay. As well, the Smart Phone could also interact with QuickDrive.com to determine when alternate routes become available and if they would really result in a time savings. The integration of a GPS into my Smart Phone would also provide feedback to the QuickDrive system, automatically and anonymously informing it of my location, speed and direction. This would enable the system to determine if the delay estimates are accurate and would also help refine alternate route suggestions and estimates.

    Some may feel that I’ve missed the biggest potential of a Smart Phone, by not using or enabling any solutions via voice calls. This is deliberate, as it is clear that safety is not maintained or enhanced through the use of cell phones while driving, and it would be irresponsible for me to encourage more cell phone calling while people are driving. And besides, this is about a killer application, one that works so well that it is invisible, remember? So, if my Smart Phone is so smart, I should be able to leave the work up to the machine, resting assured that it has managed all of the nitty gritty details that have been necessitated by my experience of a traffic jam.

    QuickDrive.com isn’t at this point of refinement yet – in fact version 2 is still in ‘the works’ with colour advertisements, MapPoint integration and personalization yet to be deployed to an eager user base. Version 1 has done an excellent job in delivering WML content via an ASP-based application to drivers from coast to coast, over a half-dozen wireless carrier networks and the Internet itself.

    Once the Smart Phone is an offered product here in Canada, I’ll begin work to integrate its features into version 3 of QuickDrive, but I don’t expect that the killer-app of my dreams will be a reality for at least 7 years…and by then traffic jams in Calgary will be a 24×7 reality.

  4. dasf says:

    duh the killer smart phone feature is to work first as good as a regular phone. If we continue to focus on what else to add the phone part will continue to suck.

  5. Jeff Parker says:

    You know I was thinking about this, I do not know if this is really an app or not. But being able to add Microsoft’s Speach SDK to the phone I think is the next big step. Being ablt to talk to your phone and just have it do things this would be good for Pocket PC as well I know there are some things like that now like my phone I rarely dial click a button and say the name into my headset but something other developers can develop against. Like the Microsoft Speach SDK but for phones.

    While I am at it, when are phones going to not be like phones. Why can’t the spot watch be your phone with a nice small blue tooth headset. No more wires, no more bulky things on the side of your belt. Or hey do away with the watch part all together just the small headset.

  6. Ivan Joseph says:

    I guess in the search for the ‘holy grail’ so to speak we make the assumption that all consumers want the same thing. That one killer application will drive hordes of people to the product. That’s unlikely to be the case since different consumers usually have widely differing tastes.

    Even office, THE Killer App for the Windows platform is actually several different products – Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc.

    I think converged devices (SP, PPCPE)will have several applications that add to its usefulness. I was at Burger Meister the other day and the order taker used a Compaq Pocket PC to place the orders. On hitting send the order would be relayed wirelessly and be printed out in the kitchen for fulfillment. The order taker told me how useful this application was for him to do his job more productively. Different verticals will have their own uses that make these devices valuable.

    I use the notes feature whenever I go to buy groceries – no more post its for me. Others might watch live news/ favorite sports etc.

    In some cases, these devices are used instead of PC’s. I have heard of a school in Iowa where the students liked the SmartPhone since they felt that they could get class updates on it. Some of them didn’t have PC’s so the email functionality was just a great value add. Or think of the emerging markets where PC’s are still prohibitively expensive but where cell phone adoption is growing rapidly (China – nearly 300 million cell phones, India – 3 million phones being added each month) Here the Smart devices can be big winners. Consider how easy it is to check mail on the SmartPhone / Pocket PC versus the many steps needed on the desktop – fire up your PC, open your mail client etc. This could be a compelling scenario for adoption in these countries where many don’t yet have the PC habit.

    Or consider the elderly – here in the US or elsewhere in the world. They might all carry these devices although not all of them will have PC’s.

    So I’m not sure we should all chase after that one killer application – these devices are simply becoming ‘more useful everyday’