Monday, January 3, 2011

Morning Brief: 5K apps in 2 months for Windows Phone 7; who calls the shots when developing new media apps?

The first post of the year is as good a time as any to try and catch up with new media news that occurred during the holiday week.

CNNMoney reported late last week that Microsoft's new mobile platform, Windows Phone 7, now has over 5,000 apps in its app store. The company has shipped - not sold -- 1.5 million devices to retailers since the new smartphone was introduced a couple of months ago. All-in-all, 5,000 apps is a pretty good number, and many of those apps are pretty important to the platform's chances at success: Netflix, the Weather Channel,, etc. No media apps, however, are promoted on the company's app store home page.
In the end, of course, the question many media executives will ask themselves soon is should they develop for this platform, or just concentrate on iOS and Android. (Those using third party vendors will want to ask their partners what their plans are for Windows Phone 7.) The key may be whether tablets appear that use some form of the mobile OS.

I chose not to write a year-end round-up, or make any predictions in post written at the end of 2010. But if you seeking one of these kinds of stories this one is as good as any, and probably better than most.

Chris Clark, writing on his Release Candidate One site, wrote an excellent piece that talks about the new Facebook Messages -- an internal email feature. Clark makes several good points including that people simply don't use email the way early adopters used it -- sending multiple emails, at a quick pace, sort of like instant messaging. Because of this, Clark says that the new system is better than email for reasons that you can read in the post.

But he also wonders whether it is wise to have those who are "the people with the biggest investment in old technologies ... calling the shots in the design of their successors". Damn good point.
I was thinking about this as I downloaded the newest app from Tribune Interactive. The app is called, simply enough, Chicago Football, and it was released before the Bears played their final game of the regular season. Strange timing, huh? Who intentionally puts out a sports app pretty much after the season is over?

The app is definitely attractive -- I think the folk over at Tribune Interactive appear to have some excellent design and development talent in-house -- but it is still one of those RSS driven apps put out by people who have a hard time visualizing content outside the walls of their own newsrooms.

But content aside, what struck me was that here is a free app, put out by a major media company, that contains zero advertising. Was the ad department involved in the development of this app? and if not, why not? If yes, isn't there a client in football crazy Chicagoland interested in advertising here?