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Say it with me: App Stores define the product!

overwhelmed with application submissions Pre|Central reports that the Palm App Store been overwhelmed with application submissions, and with the App Store opening tomorrow (September 24th, 2009), I think that's a great problem to have!

From the Pre|Central article, Palm Developer Community Manager Chuq Von Rospach posted to the Palm developer discussion board the following:

We got more applications than we could handle well, which is a good problem to have. Unfortunately, it means we dropped some things on the floor, and that's bad, but with the impending "stuff" that's coming, this is all going to get a lot easier for everyone and a lot more transparent. If you didn't get a response in a timely manner, let me apologize to you. We should have done a better job on this, and I apologize for this. I'm working with the people I work with on this to try to make sure we do a better job of this moving forward. Good news is we've hired some people -- one's started, one starts next week, and the third starts the week after that, and that'll give us some great people and some new resources to make sure this gets fixed and works properly.

This brings me back to my ever-ongoing struggle with picking my next DMP: the Zune HD vs the latest iPod Touch. Specs-wise, the Zune HD is the favored product - beautiful OLED screen, HD FM Tuner, ability to go (with the dock) to 1080P video... but I've already decided that my next DMP will be the iPod Touch.

Anyone who knows me will tell you, I'm no Apple fanboy... so why the change? Simple: it's the App Store!

I know that I can buy the iPod Touch and - within minutes from purchase - begin purchasing (at a minimal price) an application that will address a real world need. I want to tweet from the road? There's an app for that! I want to post to a Blogger API-based blog? There's an app for that! Hell, I want to write code while I'm in the stands waiting for my son's football team to take the field?! There's an app for that!

The Zune HD? Sure, there's the Zune Marketplace App Store... 9 applications in total - and the only non-Game categorized applications are an MSN Weather Widget and a Calculator. Sexy huh?!

So, I'll be picking up the iPod Touch. Again, not because it's technology-wise a better product, but because of the options that are available to me post-purchase.

See, for me - as I rarely buy any big-ticket items for myself, a product designed for my sole usage that will cost ~$400USD... well, it just doesn't sit well with me. As a result, I tend to purchase a device and try to get the most out of it - via updates, upkeep, and kid-glove care - as possible. Thus, the initial purchase is simply the selection of the technology, and I have to decide from the time of adoption which product will look to have the better lifecycle.

I need my initial technology investment to grow with my needs, as well as the ever-evolving user experiences that tomorrow's gadget will bring to the table.

So being able to choose through literally thousands of applications allows me to evolve my use of the device with my needs. After all, there's an app for just about anything you need it seems.

Coming back to the Palm Pre - they have a single device in the field running the WebOS and the new Palm Pre hardware, but they have so many hungry vendors and individual developer application submissions that they have to bring on new staff to cover them all.

... So where's the Lotus App Store?

You may say it's OpenNTF. For our community, I think that's as close a fit to anything that's out there and available today. But while the solutions available on the OpenNTF catalog are some of the better applications developed for our particular platform... I don't think it's enough.

We need a simple, low-cost, consumer-focused application store - where a user of a product from the Lotus product portfolio can browse through consumer-priced applications, plug-ins, add-ons, and such. The result: you'll not only empower the user to do more with their technology investment, but you'll give them ideas on how they can better use the product.

You'll also drive vendor participation and innovation - as this is absolutely an untapped revenue stream that will breed a new level of competition.

So where do we start?

About the author: Chris Toohey

Thought Leadership, Web & Mobile Application Development, Solutions Integration, Technical Writing & Mentoring

A published developer and webmaster of, Chris Toohey specializes in platform application development, solutions integration, and evangelism of platform capabilities and best practices.

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