Saturday, November 20, 2010

Distribution (m-cube : Level 1)

An effective distribution strategy plays a vital role in the success of any mobile solution. As the applications’ distribution directly affects the billing procedure, it is imperative that this strategy is worked out in the design phase itself.

Distribution largely depends on the type of application.

Typically, consumer mobility applications may be distributed via App stores, carrier deck or app aggregators like (get jar & cell mania). These app stores have now reduced the entry barriers and helps us reach out to the market in no time, like OVI store - you can register as a publisher just in 1$, get your applications signed for free and launch to the audience in more then 190 countries in almost in no time.

For enterprise mobility, corresponding Mobile Device Management systems should be planned and configured according to the expected load.

In case of a client/server application, like a mobile banking or a stock market app that needs frequent interaction with the may feel the need of distributing it from your own Deck i.e. Over the Air from your own Website.

This makes sense when it is complicated to share the revenues of these apps with carriers, aggregators and/or store fronts while providing a quality service to the customers. In setting up an OTA distribution infrastructure for these cases, we need to make sure of the following two things:

a- Auto-detection of device platform and model, so that the right build is delivered to the requesting mobile device – this is achieved by searching the WURFL database using user-agent string fetched from the mobile request.

b- Auto-upgrade infrastructure is required on both the client & server side, so that on every login, the server can compare the client build version with one available on OTA server and give notification of optional/mandatory upgrade to the client app.

Another way to reach the market quickly is to embed the application on the device before the same is launched. You can do this by making an alliance with a renowned handset manufacturer like Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, etc for this.

If the application is going pre-loaded on the device; our best practices suggests that you should just get a stub of your app pre-loaded on the device which fetches the most updated version of your application matching to the device default locale, when the end-user launches it for the first time.

Stay tuned, I will be posting the details of other attributes and best practices very soon.

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