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A new relationship

One of the keys to the success of the Android phones (and the iPhones as well) is the application marketplace. Whether you really need access to 80,000 apps on your smartphone is an separate topic. What is more interesting is what attributes are common among the most popular apps.

The #1 thing I see is the feedback loop. The most successful apps, the ones that are downloaded the most, constantly have reviews that say “the developer listened to me and got back to me.” Even for the apps that have growing pains (adapting to new hardware, adapting to OS updates or adding new features) the customers are forgiving if they feel part of the process, part of the loop. Otherwise excellent apps are downgraded if the developer, for whatever reason, chooses not to respond to customers.

I am a prime example. I have worked with a small development shop with an app that worked on my original Droid, but died on my Droid X. I am pretty sure the developers couldn’t afford to get a Droid X, so they used me as their test lab. They were very responsive, very involved and I never felt abandoned. This feedback loop kept me from dumping their app and looking for an alternative.

The #2 thing that I see in the most successful apps is a continuous stream of releases. Bug fixes, corrections for different hardware, new features, even small tweaks are part of a steady stream of updates. And the best developers go out of their way to acknowledge that the changes are driven by their customers.

There are a number of other interesting attributes of successful apps that I could add, but these are the main factors that strike me as revolutionary in terms of software developed for the consumer market.

Whether by choice or by the desires of the market, the Android marketplace has adopted many of the practices found in the Agile movement. I would venture that with the proliferation of these devices, the way customers interact with, and the expectations they have from, software developers in markets of all sizes and shapes are going to fundamentally change. A new relationship is being forged between the customer and the developer. I think this new relationship will be a primary factor in deciding who wins and who loses going forward.

Here at RadBlue, we live Agile, breath, Agile and see its benefits daily.

Welcome to the new world.

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