Could the end of the mobile app be nigh?
Not yet according to Matthew Calamatta, chief technology officer of Matchbox Mobile, but applications like Google Now and Siri point to a possible post-app future.
Calamatta, speaking at the inaugural Bright On Travel event in Brighton this week said these developments offered all the benefits of an app embedded into the device.
“It will tell you what you need to do. It’s really useful because it knows what you are doing. It’s the future.”
Siri is an intelligent personal assistant for Apple devices and Google Now is the search engine’s equivalent which personalises search results and offers location-based information based on data about the user and search history.
The recent addition of Google Offers pointed to how the service might be exploited commercially by firms looking to target product to customers at the right time and place.
Matchbox Mobile has worked with a number of high profile travel names including hotels.com on their apps.
Calamatta said it was vital that firms first asked themselves what problem an app would solve before committing to developing one.
He pointed to one project Matchbox has worked on – Bing’s Get Me There door-to-door directions finder for London – as a prime example of a useful app.
“What’s interesting about this app is it’s less about the content, it knows where you are and gives you relevant information about where you are and what’s happening.
“It’s alive. It knows a little bit about you and is responsive to your location. It’s a good case study of where it makes sense to have a mobile app rather than a static mobile website.”
Calamatta said firms should ask themselves what the alternatives are before deciding to have an app.
And once they have decided an app is for them ask themselves who they are trying to reach with it, are they likely to be iOS or Android users, or both.
Outside of travel the Ebay app was singled out as a good example.
Calamatta said even though the website is perfectly usable on mobile with a responsive UI the app was devised to capture its audience and bypass Google.
“It’s more about discovery, allowing users to discover you and your brand and keeping them on the phone,” Calamatta said.
Calamatta dismissed augmented reality as facile saying actual reality was perfectly fine although he said Google Glass was on application which might prove useful.