Saturday, January 26, 2008

Application inventory service

This is again a new entry under the growing topic
Services that somebody should implement...

If you are a smartphone user, count how many 3rd party applications you have installed to your device? For my device the count was 35 (and growing). How do you keep those applications up-to-date? How do you know that there is an update available? How do you find new applications from all the time increasing catalog?

What about this: a (community maintained?) service where publishers can upload their applications for free delivery. Solution consists of a smartphone inventory client and a website for delivering applications and for providing suggestions for users. Smartphone application can send an anonymous list of user's applications and their versions to the server, which then compares reported application versions to its database. If versions differ, user is prompted whether an update is wanted or not. Publishers can upload their new application versions to the service free-of-charge.

Benefits for users
  • no need to manually check from different sites if there is a new application version available for some installed application
  • application recommendations based on user's current application list ("users who have installed application X have often installed application Y")
Benefits for developers
  • no need to implement an in-house solution for automatic application updates
  • good and cheap channel to deliver applications
Benefits for service owner
  • Business. Sell ads to service and put ads to inventory client. Ads can be targeted based on user's location, language, installed applications, terminal model etc.
Whoever runs this service might want to affiliate with licensing solution providers so that also commercial applications could be easily delivered through this service. When user buys a license for application that has been downloaded from this service, developer/license provider pays a small fee.

If you want to see a good implementation how an application can update itself, take a look at my favorite application, Nokia Sports Tracker.


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