There is a lot of talk around responsive Web design being too slow or too resource intensive and that other methodologies can achieve better performance. I don’t want to go into the details of which approach is better because I think different scenarios require different solutions. What is certainly true in all cases is that a Web site or app that loads faster is better than one that is slow. Companies like Google, Gomez and Akamai have all published papers and survey results showing how speed affects user perception of a service from your desktop computer and even more on a mobile device (KISSmetrics has also drawn a nice infographic for the lazy ones). This is the first article and another one will follow shortly. Continue reading
I thought about a possible issue where a low-end mobile device would have gotten the img tag in the head tag. Not good.
While I was editing the code I also improved the code segmentation part that in some cases might have sent incomplete data.
I have written an update, should be much better. Continue reading
All this is great, but what about mobile devices?
The other day I was reading a great post by Tim O’Reilly entitled The State of the Internet Operating System. It’s a long article if you are used to the average blog post (not very different from what this one will be!), but it’s worth reading all of it.
Now, if you are done reading it, I wonder if you agree with him or not. When I started reading and probably up to one third, I was not understanding where he was going to end up, but then I had a A-HA moment and all of sudden I realised what he means and I completely agree. It is something that has been in my mind for a while, but I was never able to put it down in words as well as Tim O’Reilly did. One of the reasons recently I’ve been paying particular attention to where I sign in, which cookies are in browser and where I go is that I can see where Google are going and how they are expanding their APIs and how developers are using them more and more. Google are amazing at how they are identifying growing trends, developing new technologies or acquiring companies and integrating their existing products. Add to this their release speed and you have an amazing juggernaut heading to the conquest of the Internet Operating System. They are obviously dominating the Web and you don’t need me to tell you that they are doing very well with APIs. Come in mobile devices and more in general mobile computing. Google have not left any base uncovered and they have the already successful Android and the upcoming Chrome OS. Then at the latest Google I/O the Google TV is announced in partnership with Sony, a company that has always tried to develop its own technologies and keep them as closed as possible. If they have given up to Google it means Google is giving them something that is worth a lot.
For quite a few years in-car navigation has been a very good business. Companies kept improving their hardware and selling every other year (if not within a year) a new device to their customers. I am talking about the navigation systems like TomTom and Garmin, not those that you buy integrated in your car, of course.
The interface had, over the years, small improvements and refinements, but hardly any major change. While Garmin was the leader up to 5 or 6 years ago, at least in Europe TomTom has taken a clear lead both in pricing and UI. Some might argue Garmin has better accuracy, but it’s not SOO much better, in my opinion. Companies like Navigon have tried some innovation, but they haven’t conquered enough market share, at least until now.
Then mobile devices entered the game. It happened in various small steps like the introduction of GPS chips and Nokia’s acquisition of NAVTEQ.
Also, Apple has proven that people LOVE maps on their phones and need something that is not necessarily a navigation system while driving. See for example slides 5 and 11 from this great presentation by Skyhook (the technology providers for location services on iPhones and other devices).
Nokia has come with some interesting application, service and business model, see the Ovi Maps and these 2 demo videos. It is very interesting, it is definitely going to hit Garmin and TomTom, but it’s still a paid service, so it will not kill the other businesses.
Apple has quitely acquired a company called Placebase. This confirms the interest of mobile device makers in location and maps services (and probably also adds to the current Google-Apple competition). Obviously, relying on Google’s Maps wasn’t good enough for Apple, hence expect some innovation here. It will have to be seen what they can achieve when competing with Nokia’s technology acquired from NAVTEQ and Google, it cannot be just eyecandy.
Now comes in Google with Android 2 and the new maps service. There’s a good quick look from TechCrunch, Google Redefines GPS Navigation Landscape: Google Maps Navigation For Android 2.0. Google’s service is going to be free to use and comes in an Open Source OS. Not only, it comes with some very interesting innovation in the UI and service such as the use of Street View, the ability to search for Points of Interest on your route and traffic alerts. Yes, points of interest have been there for a while, but how good are they? It doesn’t seem to me like they can be compared with Google Maps on the web. I expect this on-device service to be as good.
OpenStreetMap proves that you can create a good map with crowd sourcing and if Google is going to be in millions of phones within next year, it will not be hard to add a small button that makes you share “anonymous” data to Google so that they can track a lot of information with minimal effort (it’s not hard to guess there’s a motorway when you’re traveling at 150km/h on a straight line).
What is the future of companies like TomTom, Garmin, or even those that sold maps? Who can provide the level of detail that Google will have?